THE ENCHANTED BARN
1 VI OTi? ..)!* I V1J HTUH
GRACE LIVINGSTON HILL
The Beloved Stranger
The Honor Girl
The Mystery of Mary
A Girl to Come Home To
The Red Signal
The Strange Proposal
Through These Fires
The Street of the City
All Through the Night
The Gold Shoe
The Man of the Desert
Coming Through the Rye
More Than Conqueror
A New Name
The Enchanted Barn
The Patch of Blue
Girl from Montana
Sound of the Trumpet
Tomorrow About This
Head of the House
In Tune with Wedding
Chance of a Lifetime
Out of the Storm
The Prodigal Girl
Girl of the Woods
The White Flower
Time of the Singing of
The Substitute Guest
Beauty for Ashes
Stranger Within the Gates
The Best Man
By Way of the Silverthorns
The Seventh Hour
Dawn of the Morning
in the Wilderness
RUTH LIVINGSTON HILL
(with Grace Livingston Hill)
Morning Is for Joy
John Nielson Had a Daughter
GRACE LIVINGSTON HILL
GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
By arrangement with J. B. Lippincott Co.
Made in the United States of America
COPYRIGHT, 1917, BT THB OOLDBN BtTXA OOMFAHY
COPYRIGHT. 1918, BT J. B. MPPINOOTT OOMPAKY
THE ENCHANTED BARN
SHIRLEY HOLLISTER pushed back the hair from her hot
forehead, pressed her hands wearily over tired eyes, then
dropped her fingers again to the typewriter keys, and flew on
with the letter she was writing.
There was no one else in the inner office where she eat.
Mr. Barnard, the senior member of the firm, whose ste-
nographer she was, had stepped into the outer office for a
moment with a telegram which he had just received. His
absence gave Shirley a moment's respite from that feeling that
she must keep strained up to meet bis gaze and not let trouble
show in her eyes, though a great lump was choking in her throat
and the tears stung her hot eyelids and insisted on blurring
her visior now and then. But it was only for an instant that
she gave way. Her fingers flew on with their work, for this
was an important letter, and Mr. Barnard wanted it to go in
the next mail.
As she wrote, a vision of her mother's white face appeared
to her between the lines, the mother weak and white, with
tears on her cheeks and that despairing look in her eyes.
Mother hadn't been able to get up for a week. It seemed as if
the cares of life were getting almost too much for her, and the
warm spring days made the little brick house in the narrow
street a stifling place to stay. There was only one small
window in mother's room, opening against a brick wall, for
they had had to rent the front room with its two windows.
6 THE ENCHANTED BARN
But, poor as it was, the little brick house had been home;
and now they were not to have that long. Notice had been
served that they must vacate in four weeks; for the house, in
fact, the whole row of houses in which it was situated, had
been sold, and was to be pulled down to make way for a big
apartment-house that was to be put up.
Where they were going and what they were going to do
now was the great problem that throbbed on Shirley's weary
brain night and day, that kept her from sleeping and eating,
that choked in her throat when she tried to speak to Mr.
Barnard, that stared from her feverish ej r es as she looked at
the sunshine on the street or tried to work in the busy monotony
of the office.
They had been in the little house nearly a year, ever since
the father died. It had taken all they could scrape together to
pay the funeral expenses, and now with her salary, and the
roomer's rent, and what George got as cash-boy in a depart-
ment store they were just barely able to get along. There
was not a cent over for sickness or trouble, and nothing to
move with, even if they had anywhere to move, or any time to
hunt for a place. Shirley knew from her experience in hunt-
ing for the present house that it was going to be next to
impossible for them to find any habitable place for as little
rent as they were now paying, and how could they pay more ?
She was only a beginner, and her salary was small. There
were three others in the family, not yet wage-earners. The
problem was tremendous. Could it be that Carol, only four-
teen years old, must stop school and go to work somewhere to
earn a pittance also ? Carol was slender and pale, and needed
fresh air and nourishing food. Carol was too young to bear
burdens yet ; besides, who would be housekeeper and take care
THE ENCHANTED BARN 7
of mother if Carol had to go to work ? It was different with
George; he was a boy, strong and sturdy; he had his school
in the department store, and was getting on well with his
studies. George would be all right. He belonged to a base-
ball team, too, and got plenty of chances for exercise; but
Carol was frail, there was no denying i'v. Harley was a
boisterous nine-year-old, always on the street these days when
he wasn't in school; and who could blame him? For the
narrow, dark brick house was no place for a lively boy. But
the burden and anxiety for him were heavy on his sister's
heart, who had taken over bodily all the worries of her mother.
Then there was the baby Doris, with her big, pathetic eyes,
and her round cheeks and loving ways. Doris, too, had to be
shut in the dark little house with the summer heat coming on,
and no one with time enough or strength enough to take her
to the Park. Doris was only four. Oh, it was terrible, terrible!
and Shirley could do nothing but sit there, and click those
keys, and earn her poor little inadequate salarv ! Some day,
of course, she would get more but some day mig&t be too late !
She shuddered as the terrible thought flashed through her
mind, then went on with her work again. She must shake off
this state of mind and give attention to her duty, or she
would lose even this opportunity to help her dear ones.
The door of the outer office opened, and Mr. Barnard
"Miss Hollister," he said hurriedly, "if you have those
letters ready, I will sign them at once. We have just bad
word that Mr. Baker of the firm died last night in Chicago,
and I must go on at once. The office will be closed for the rest
of the day. You can let those other matters that I spoke of
go until to-morrow, and you may have the day oft. I shall
8 THE ENCHANTED BARN
not be at the office at the usual hour to-morrow morning, bat
you can come in and look after the mail. I will leave further
directions with Mr. Clegg. You can mail these letters as you
Ten minutes later Shirley stood on the street below in the
warm spring sunshine, and gazed about her half dazed. It-
seemed a travesty on her poor little life just now to have a
holiday and no way to make it count for the dear ones at
home. How should she use it, anyway ? Should she go home
and help Carol? Or should she go out and see whether she
could find a house somewhere that they could possibly afford
to move to? That, of course, was the sensible thing to do;
yet she had no idea where to go. Eut they did not expect her
home at this time of day. Perhaps it was as well that she
should use this time and find out something without worry-
ing her mother. At least, she would have time to think
She grasped her little package of lunch that she had
brought from home with her and looked about her helplessly.
In her little thin purse was the dime she always carried with
her to pay her car-fare in case something happened that she
had to ride either way though she seldom rode, even in a
storm. But her mother insisted on the dime. She said it
was not safe to go without any money at all. This dime was
her capital wherewith to hunt a house. Perhaps the day had
been given her by a kind heavenly Father to go on her search.
She would try to use it to the best of her ability. She lifted
her bewildered heart in a feeble petition for light and help in
her difficult problem, and then she went and stood on the
corner of the street where many trolley-cars were passing and
repassing. Which one should she take, and where should she
THE ENCHANTED BARN 9
go? The ten cents must cover all her riding, and she must
save half of it for her return.
She studied the names on the cars. " Glenside Road " one
read. What had she heard about that ? Ah ! that it was the
longest ride one could take for five cents within the limits of
the city's roads ! Her heart leaped up at the word. It sounded
restful anyway, and would give her time to think. It wasn't
likely, if it went nea any glens, that there would be any
houses within her means on its way; but possibly it passed
some as it went through the city, and she could take notice of
the streets and numbers and get out on her return trip to
investigate if there proved to be anything promising; or, if
it were too far away from home for her to walk back from it,
she could come another time in the evening with George, some
night when he did not have school. Anyhow, the ride would
rest her and give her a chance to think what she ought to do,
and one car was as good as another for that. Het resolve was
taken, and she stepped out and signalled it.
There were not many people in the car. It was not an
hour when people rode out to the suburbs. Two workmen
with rolls of wall-paper slung in burlap bags, a woman and
a little girl, that was all.
Shirley settled back in her seat, and leaned her head
against the window-sash wearily. She felt so tired, body and
soul, that she would have been glad to sleep and forget for a
little while, only that there was need for her to be up and
doing. Her room had been oppressively warm the night
before; and Doris, who slept with her, had rolled from one
side of the bed to the other, making sleep well-nigh impossible
for the elder sister. She felt bruised and bleeding in her very
soul, and longed for rest.
10 THE ENCHANTED BARN
The car was passing through the thickest of the city's
business thoroughfare, and the noise and confusion whirled
about her ears like some fiendish monotonous music that set
the time for the mad dancs of the world. One danced to it
whether one would or not, and danced on to one's death.
Around the city hall the car passed, and on up Market
Street. They passed a great fruit-store, and the waft of air
that entered the open windows came laden with the scent of
over-ripe bananas, late oranges and lemons; a moment later
with sickening fumes it blended into a deadly smell of gas from
a yawning hole in the pavement, and mingled with the sweat of
the swarthy foreigners grouped about it, picks in hand. It
seemed as though all the smells in creation were met and con-
gregated in that street within four or five blocks ; and one by
one they tortured her, leather and paint and metal and soap,
rank cheese in a fellow traveller's market-basket, thick stifling
smoke from a street engine that was champing up the gravel
they fed it to make a new patch of paving, the stench from the
cattle-sheds as they passed the railroad and stock-yards, the
dank odor of the river as they crossed the bridge, and then an
oilcloth-factory just beyond ! The faint sweet breath of early
daffodils and violets from an occasional street vendor stood no
chance at all with these, and all the air seemed sickening and
dreadful to the girl as she rested wearily against the window
with closed eyes, and tried to think.
They slipped at last into the subway with a whir and a
swish, where the cool, clean smell of the cement seemed
gradually to rise and drown the memory of the upper world,
and came refreshingly in at the windows. Shirley had a pass-
ing thought, wondering whether it would be like that in the
grave, all restful and sweet and quiet and clean, with the
THE ENCHANTED BARN 11
noisy, heartless world roaring overhead. Then they came up
suddenly out of the subway, with a kind of triumphant leap
and shout of brakes and wheels, into the light and sunshine
above, and a new world. For here were broad streets, clean
pavements, ample houses, well-trimmed lawns, quiet people
walking in comfort, bits of flower-boxes on the window-sills
filled with pansies and hyacinths ; and the air was sweet and
clean. The difference made Shirley sit up and look about her,
and the contrast reminded her of the heaven that would be
beyond the grave. It was just because she was so tired and
disheartened that her thoughts took this solemn form.
But now her heart sank again, for she was in the world
of plenty far beyond her means, and there was no place for
such as she. Not in either direction could she see any little
side streets with tiny houses that would rent for fifteen dollars
a month. There were such in the city, she knew; but they
were scarce, and were gobbled up as soon as vacant.
But here all was spaciousness, and even the side streets
had three stories and smug porches with tidy rockers and bay
She looked at the great plate-glass windows with their
cobwebby lace draperies, and thought what it would be if she
were able to take her mother and the children to such a home
as one of those. Why, if she could afford that, George could
v go to college, and Doris wear a little velvet coat with rose-
buds in her bonnet, like the child on the sidewalk with her
nurse and her doll-carriage.
But a thing like that could never come to her. There wsre
no rich old uncles to leave them a fortune ; she was not bright
and gifted to invent some wonderful toy or write a book or
paint a picture that would bring the fortune ; and no one would
1* THE ENCHANTED BARN
ever come her way with a fortune to marry her. Those things
happened only in story-books, and she was not a story-book
girl; she was just a practical, every-day, hard-working girl
with a fairly good complexion, good blue eyes and a firm
chin. She could work hard and was willing ; but she could not
bear anxiety. It was eating into her soul, and she could feel
a kind of mental paralysis stealing over her from it, benumbing
her faculties hour by hour.
The car glided on, and the houses grew less stately and
farther apart. They were not so pretentious now, but they
were still substantial and comfortable, with more ground and
an air of having been there always, with no room for new-
comers. Now and then would come a nucleus of shops and
an old tavern with a group of new groceries and crying com-
petition of green stamps and blue stamps and yellow stamps
posted alluringly in their windows. Here busy, hurried people
would swarm, and children ran and shouted ; but every house
they passed seemed full to overflowing, and there was nowhere
any place that seemed to say, " Here you may come and find
And now the car left the paved and built-up streets, and
wandered out between the open fields, where trees arched
lavishly overhead, and little new green things lifted up
unfrighteneti heads, and dared to grow in the sunshine. A
new smell, the smell of rich earth and young green growing
things, of skunk-cabbage in bloom in the swamps, of budding
willows and sassafras, roused her senses; the hum of a bee
on its way to find the first honey-drops came to her ears. t
Sweet, droning, restful, with the call of a wild bird in the
distance, and all the air balmy with the joy of spring. Ah !
This was a new world ! This indeed was heaven ! What a
THE ENCHANTED BARN la
contrast to the office, and the little narrow stifling brick house
where mother lay, and Doris cut strings of paper dolls from
an old newspaper and sighed to go out in the Park ! What a
contrast ! Truly, this was heaven ! If she could but stay, and
all the dear ones come!
She had spent summers in the country, of course ; and she
knew and loved nature, but it had been five years since she
had been free to get outside the city limits for more than a
day, and then not far. It seemed to her now that she had
never sensed the beauty of the country as to-day; perhaps
because she had never needed it as now.
The road went on smoothly straight ahead, with now a
rounding curve, and then another long stretch of perfect road.
Men were ploughing in the fields on one side, and on the other
lay the emerald velvet of a field of spring wheat. More people
had got into the car as it left the city. Plain, substantial
men, nice, pleasant women ; but Shirley did not notice them ;
she was watching the changing landscape and thinking her
dismal, pitiful thoughts. Thinking, too, that she had spent
her money or would have when she returned, with nothing
to show for it, and her conscience condemned her.
They were coming now to a wide, old-fashioned barn of
stone, with ample grassy stone-coped entrance rising like a
stately carpeted stairway from the barn-yard. It was resting
on the top of a green knoll, and a great elm-tree arched over it
protectingly. A tiny stream purled below at one side, and the
ground sloped gradually off at the other. Shirley was not
noticing the place much except as it was a part of the land-
scape until she heard the conductor talking to the man across
the aisle about it.
" Good barn ! " he was saying reflectively. " Pity to hav
14 THE ENCHANTED BARN
it standing idle so long; but they'll never rent it without a
house, and they won't build. It belongs to the old man's
estate, and can't be divided until the youngest boy's of age,
four 'r five years yet. The house burned down two years ago.
Some tramps set it afire. No, nobody was living in it at tho
time. The last renter didn't make the farm pay, too fur
from the railroad, I guess, and there ain't anybody near
enough round to use the barn since Halyer built his new
barn," and he indicated a great red structure down the road
on the other side. " Halyer useta use this, rented it fer
less'n nothing, but he got too lazy to come this fur, and so he
eold off half his farm fer a dairy and built that there barn.
So now I s'pose that barn'll stand idle and run to waste till
that kid comes of age and there's a boom up this way and it's
sold. Pity about it, though ; it's a good barn. Wisht I had it
Up to my place ; I could fill it."
" Make a good location for a house," said the other man,
looking intently at the big stone pile. " Been a fine barn in its
time. Old man must uv had a pile of chink when he built
it. Who'd ya say owned it ? "
" Graham, Walter Graham, big firm down near the city
hall guess you know 'em. Got all kinds of money. This ain't
one, two, three with the other places they own. Got a regular
palace out Arden way fer summer and a town house in the
swellest neighborhood, and own land all over. Old man in-
herited it from his father and three uncles. They don't even
scarcely know they got this barn, I reckon. It ain't very
stylish out this way just yet."
" Be a big boom here some day ; nice location," said the
" Not yetta while," said the conductor sagely ; " railroad
THE ENCHANTED BARN 13
station's too far. Wait till they get a station out Allister
Avenue; then you can talk. Till then it'll stay as it is, I reckon.
There's a spring down behind the barn, the best water in the
county. I useta get a drink every day when the switch was
up here. I missed it a lot when they moved the switch to the
top of the hill. Water's cold as ice and clear as crystal
can't be beat this side the soda-fountain. I sometimes stop
the car on a hot summer day now, and run and get a drink -
The men talked on, but Shirley heard no more. Her eyes
were intent on the barn as they passed it the great, beau-
tiful, wide, comfortable-looking barn. What a wonderful
house it would make ! She almost longed to be a cow to
enter this peaceful shelter and feel at home for a little while.
The car went on, and left the big barn in the distance;
but Shirley kept thinking, going over almost unconsciously all
the men had said about it. Walter Graham ! Where had she
seen that name ? Oh, of course in the Ward Trust Building,
the whole fourth floor. Leather goods of some sort, perhaps,
she couldn't just remember; yet she was sure of the name.
The man had said the barn rented for almost nothing.
What could that mean translated in terms of dollars ? Would
the fifteen dollars a month that they were now paying for
the little brick house cover it? But there would be the car-
fare for herself and George. Walking that distance twice a
day, or even once, would be impossible. Ten cents a day,
sixty cents a week twice sixty cents ! If they lived out of
the city, they couldn't afford to pay but twelve dollars a
month. They never would rent that barn for that, of course,
it was so big and grand-looking; and yet it was a barn!
What did barns rent for, anyway?
16 THE ENCHANTED BARN
And, if it could be had, could they live in a barn ? What
were barns like, anyway, inside? Did they have floors, or
only stalls and mud? There had been but two tiny windows
visible in the front ; how did they get light inside ? But then
it couldn't be much darker than the brick house, no matter
what it wss. Perhaps there was a skylight, and hay, pleasant
hay, to lie down on and rest. Anyhow, if they could only
manage to get out there for the summer somehow, they could
bear some discomforts just to sit under that great tree andf
look up at the sky. To think of Doris playing under that
tree! And mother sitting under it sewing! Mother could
get well out there in that fresh air, and Doris would get rosy
cheeks again. There would not likely be a school about for
Carol ; but that would not hurt her for the summer, anyway,
*nd maybe by fall they could find a little house. Perhaps she
would get a raise in the fall. If they could only get some-
where to go now !
But yet a barn ! Live in a barn ! What would mother
Bay ? Would she feel that it was a disgrace ? Would she call
it one of Shirley's wild schemes ? Well, but what were they
going to do? They must live somewhere, unless they were
destined to die homeless.
The car droned on through the open country coming now
and then to settlements of prosperous houses, some of them
small ; but no empty ones seemed to beckon her. Indeed, they
looked too high-priced to make her even look twice at then? ;
besides, her heart was left behind with that barn, that great^
beautiful barn with the tinkling brook beside it, and the
arching tree and gentle green slope.
At last the car stopped in a commonplace little town in
front of a red brick church, and everybody got up and went
THE ENCHANTED BARN V
out. The conductor disappeared, too, and the motorman
leaned back on his brake and looked at her significantly.
"End of the line, lady," he said with a grin, as if she
were dreaming and had not taken notice of her surroundings.
s< Oh/ 7 said Shirley, rousing up, and looking bewilderedly
about her. " Well, you go back, don't you ? "
" Yes. Go back in fifteen minutes/' said the motorman
indulgently. There was something appealing in the sadness
of this girl's eyes that made him think of his little girl at
" Do you go back just the same way ? " she asked with
sudden alarm. She did want to see that barn again, and to
get its exact location so that she could come back to it some
day if possible.
" Yes, we go back just the same way," nodded the motor-
Shirley sat back in her seat again contented, and resumed
her thoughts. The motorman took up his dinner-pail, sat
down on a high stool with his back to her, and began to eat.
It was a good time now for her to eat her little lunch, but
she was not hungry. However, she would be if she did not eat
it, of course; and there would be no other time when people
would not be around. She put her hand in her shabby coat-
pocket for her handkerchief, and her fingers came into contact
with something small and hard and round. For a moment
she thought it was a button that had been off her cuff for
several days., But no, she remembered sewing that on that
very morning. Then she drew the little object out, and behold
it was a five-cent piece ! Yes, of course, she remembered now.
It was the nickel she put in her pocket last night when she
rent for the extra loaf of bread and found the store closed
18 THE ENCHANTED BARN
She had made johnny-cake instead, and supper had been late;
but the nickel had stayed in her coat-pocket forgotten. And
now suddenly a big temptation descended upon her, to spend
that nickel in car-fare, riding to the barn and getting out
for another closer look at it, and then taking the next car on
into the city. Was it wild and foolish, was it not perhaps
actually wrong, to spend that nickel that way when they needed
so much at home, and had so little? A crazy idea, for how
could a barn ever be their shelter?
She thought so hard about it that she forgot to eat her
lunch until the motorman slammed the cover down on his tin
pail and put the high stool away. The conductor, too, was
coming out of a tiny frame house, wiping his mouth with the
back of his hand and calling to his wife, who stood in the
doorway and told him about an errand she wanted him to do
for her in the city.
Shirley's cheeks grew red with excitement, for the nickel
was burning in her hand, and she knew in her heart that she
was going to spend it getting off that car near that barn.
She would eat her lunch under the tree by the brook! How
exciting that would be! At least it would be something to
tell the children about at night! Or no! they would think
her crazy and selfish, perhaps, to waste a whole day and fifteen
cents on herself. Still, it was not on herself; it was really for
them. If they could only see that beautiful spot !
When she handed her nickel to the conductor, she felt
almost guilty, and it seemed as if he could see her intention
in her eyes; but she told herself that she was not sure she was
going to get off at all. She could decide as she came near the
place. She would have to get off either before she got there
or after she had passed and walk back. The conductor would
THE ENCHANTED BARN 19
think it strange if a young girl got off the car in the country
in front of an empty barn. How would she manage it ? There
had been houses on the way, not far from the barn. What
was the name the conductor had mentioned of the man who
had built another barn ? She might get off at his house, but
still stay what was that avenue where they had said the
railroad would come some day with a station? They had
called it out as they stopped to let off the woman and the little
girl. Allister Avenue! That was it. She would ask the
conductor to let her off at Allister Avenue.
She watched the way intently; and, as they neared the
place where Allister Avenue ought to be, her heart pounded
so that she felt quite conscious, as if she were going to steal a
barn and carry it home in her coat-pocket.
She managed to signal the car to stop quite quietly, how-
ever, and stepped down to the pavement as if it were her
regular stopping-place. She was aware of the curious gaze
of both motorman and conductor, but she held her head up,
and walked a few steps up Allister Avenue until the car had
whirred on out of sight. Then she turned anxiously, looking
down the road, and there to her joy saw the stone gable of the
great barn high on its knoll in the distance.
SHIRLEY walked down the dusty road by the side of the
car-track, elation and excitement in her breast. What an
adventure ! To be walking alone in this strange, beautiful
spring country, and nobody to interfere ! It was her Father's
beautiful out-of-doors, and she had paid her extra nickel to
have a right to it for a little while. Perhaps her mother
would have been worried at her being alone in the country,
but Shirley had no fears. Young people seldom have fears.
She walked down the road with a free step and a bright light
in her eyes. She had to see that barn somehow ; she just had to !
She was almost breathless when she reached the bottom
of the hill at last, and stood in front of the great barn. The
up car passed her just as she got there, and the people looked
out at her apathetically as they would at any country girl.
She stood still a minute, and watched the car up the hill and
out of sight, then picked her way across the track, and entered
the field where the fence was broken down, walking up the
long grassy slope to the front of the barn and standing still at
the top in front of the big double doors, so grim and
The barn was bigger than it looked in the distance. She
felt very small; yet her soul rejoiced in its bigness. Oh, to
have plenty of room for once !
She put her nose close to the big doors, and tried to find
a crack to look through; but the doors were tight and fitted
well. There was no use trying to see in from there. She
turned and ran down the long grassy slope, trying to pretend
THE ENCHANTED BARN 21
it was a palatial stairway, then around the side to the back
of the barn, and there at last she found a door part way ajar,
opening into what must have been the cow-stables, and she
slipped joyously in. Some good angel must have been pro-
tecting her in her ignorance and innocence, for that dark
basement of the barn would have been an excellent hidicg-
place for a whole regiment of tramps; but she trod safely on
her way, and found nothing but a field-mouse to dispute her
entrance; and it scurried hastily under the foundation, and
The cow-stables evidently had not been occupied for a
number of years, for the place was clean and littered with dry
straw, as if it had fallen and sifted from the floor above. The
stalls were all empty now. and old farm implements, several
ploughs, and a rickety wagon occupied the dusty, cobwebby
spaces beyond the stalls. There were several openings, rude
doorways and crude windows; and the place was not un-
pleasant, for the back of it opened directly upon a sloping
hill which dropped away to the running brook below, and a
little stone spring-house, its mossy roof half hidden by a
tangle of willows. Shirley stood in a doorway and gazed with
delight, then turned back to her investigation. This lower
place would not do for human habitation, of course; it was
too low and damp, and the floor was only mud. She must
penetrate if possible to the floor above.
Presently she found a rough ladder, cleats nailed to up-
rights against the wall; and up this she crept cautiously to
the opening above, and presently emerged into the wide floor
of the real barn.
There were several small windows, left open, and the sweet
spring air swept gently in; and there were little patches of
22 THE ENCHANTED BARN
pale sunshine in the misty recesses of the great dim room.
Gentle motes floated in the sharp lances of sunshine that
stole through the cracks ; another ladder rose in the midst of
the great floor to the loft above; and festoons of ancient hay
and cobwebs hung dustily down from the opening above.
After Shirley had skipped about the big floor and investigated
every corner of it, imagining how grand it would be to set
the table in one end of the room and put mother's bed behind
a screen in the other end, with the old piano somewhere in
the centre and the big parlor chair^ mended, near by, the old
couch covered with a portiere standing on the other side, she
turned her attention to the loft, and, gathering courage,
climbed up there.
There were two great openings that let in the light; but
they seemed like tiny mouse-holes in the great place, and the
hay lay sweet and dim, thinly scattered over the whole big
floor. In one corner there was quite a luxurious lot of it, and
Shirley cast herself down upon it for a blessed minute, and
looked up to the dark rafters, lit with beams of sunlight
creeping through fantastic cracks here and there, and won-
dered how the boys would enjoy sleeping up here, though there
was plenty of room down-stairs for a dozen sleeping-rooms for
the matter of that.
Foolish, of course, and utterly impossible, as all day-
dreams always had been; but somehow it seemed so real and
beautiful that she could scarcely bring herself to abandon it.
Nevertheless, her investigation had made her hungry, and
she decided at last to go down and eat her lunch under the
big tree out in the sunshine; for it was dark and stuffy inside,
although one could realize how beautiful it would be with
those two great doors flung wide, and light and air let in.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 23
The day was perfect, and Shirley found a beautiful place
to sit, high and sheltered, where she would not be noticed
when the trolley-cars sped by ; and, as she ate her sandwiches,
she let her imagination build a beautiful piazza where the
grassy rise came up to the front of the barn, and saw in
thought her mother sitting with the children at the door.
How grand it would be to live in a home like this, even if it
were a barn ! If they could just get out here for the summer,
it would do wonders for them all, and put new heart into her
mother for the hard work of the winter. Perhaps by fall
mother would be well enough to keep boarders as she longed
to do, and so help out with the finances more.
Well, of course, this was just one of her wild schemes, and
she must not think any more about it, much less even speak of
it at home, for they would never get done laughing and teasing
her for it.
She finished the last crumb of the piece of one-egg cake
that Carol had made the day before for her lunch, and ran
down to the spring to see whether she could get a drink, for
she was very thirsty.
There proved to be an old tin can on the stones in the
spring-house, doubtless used by the last tramp or conductor
who came that way; but Shirley scrubbed it carefully in the
sand, drank a delicious draught, and washed her hands and
face in the clear cold water. Then she went back to the barn
again, for a new thought had entered her mind. Supposing
it were possible to rent that place for the summer at any
reasonable price, how could they cook and how keep warm?
Of course there were such things as candles and oil-lamps
for lighting, but cooking! Would they have to build a fire
out-of-doors and play at camping? Or would they have to
84 THE ENCHANTED BARN
resort to oil-stoves ? Oil-stoves with their sticky, oily outsides,
and their mysterious moods of smoke and sulkiness, out of
which only an expert could coax them!
But, though she stood on all sides of that barn, and gazed
up at the roof, and though she searched each floor diligently,
she could find no sign of a chimney anywhere. Her former
acquaintance with barns had not put her into a position to
judge whether this was a customary lack of barns or not.
There were two wooden, chimney-like structures decorating
the roof, but it was all too evident that they were solely for
purposes of ornament. Her heart sank. What a grand fire-
place there might have been right in the middle of the great
wall opposite the door ! Could anything be more ideal ? She
could fancy mother sitting in front of it, with Harley and
Doris on the floor playing with a kitten. But there was no
fireplace. She wondered vaguely whether a stovepipe could
be put out of the window, and so make possible a fire in a
small cook-stove. She was sure she had seen stovepipes coming
out of all sorts of odd places in the cities. But would the
owners allow it? And would any fire at all perhaps make it
dangerous and affect the fire-insurance? Oh, there were so
many things to think about, and it was all so impossible, of
She turned with heavy heart, and let herself down the
ladder. It was time she went home, for the afternoon was
well on its way. She could hear the whir of the trolley-car
going up. She must be out and down the road a little way to
get the next one that passed it at the switch when it came
So with a wistful glance about the big dusty floor she
THE ENCHANTED BARN 5
turned away, and went down to the ground floor and out into
the afternoon sunshine.
Just as she crossed the knoll and was stepping over the
broken fence, she saw a clump of clover, and among the tiny
stems one bearing four leaves. She was not superstitious,
nor did the clover mean any special omen to her; but she
stooped, smiling, and plucked it, tucking it into the button-
hole of her coat, and hurried down the road; for she could
already hear the returning trolley-car, and she wished to be a
little farther from the barn before it overtook her. Some-
how she shrank from having people in the car know where she
had been, for it seemed like exposing her audacious wish to
Seated in the car, she turned her eyes back to the last
glimpse of the stone gables and the sweeping branches of the
budding tree as the car sped down the hill and curved away
behind another slope.
After all, it was but half -past four when the car reached
the city hall. Its route lay on half a mile nearer to the little
brick house, and she could stay in it, and have a shorter walk
if she chose. It was not in the least likely anybody would be
in any office at this hour of the day, anyway ; that is, anybody
with authority; but somehow Shirley had to signal that car
and get out, long walk or not. A strong desire seized her to
put her fate to the test, and either crush out this dream of
)hers forever, or find out at once whether it had a foundation
She walked straight to the Ward Trust Building and
searched the bulletin-board in th hallway carefully. Yes,
there it was, " Graham-Walter Fourth floor front."
With rapidly beating heart she entered the elevator and
26 THE ENCHANTED BARN
tried to steady her voice as she said, " Fourth " ; but it shook
in spite of her. What was she doing ? How dared she ? What
should she say when they asked her what she wanted?
But Shirley's firm little lips were set, and her head had
that tilt that her mother knew meant business. She had gone
so far she would see the matter to the finish, even if it was
ridiculous. For now that she was actually on the elevator
and almost to the fourth floor it seemed the most extraordinary
thing in the world for a girl to enter a great business office
and demand that its head should stoop to rent her an old
barn out in the country for the infinitesimal sum she could
offer. He would perhaps think her crazy, and have her put out.
But she got out of the elevator calmly, and . alked down
the hall to where a ground-glass door proclaimed in gold
letters the name she was hunting. Timidly she turned the
knob, and entered a large room, spacious and high ceiled,
with Turkish rugs on the inlaid floor, leather chairs, and
There was no one in the office but a small office-boy, who
lolled idly on one elbow on the table, reading the funny page
of the afternoon paper. She paused, half frightened, and
looked about her appealingly ; and now she began to be afraid
she was too late. It had taken longer than she had thought
it would to get here. It was almost a quarter to five by the
big clock on the wall. No head of a business firm was likely
to stay in his office so late in the day as that, she knew. Yet
she could hear the steady click of typewriter keys in an inner
office; he might have remained to dictate a letter.
The office-boy looked up insolently.
" Is Mr. Graham in ? " asked Shirley.
Which Mr. Graham?"
THE ENCHANTED BARN 27
/* hesitating and catching the name on the door,
"Mr. Walter Graham."
" No, he isn't here. Never here after four o'clock." The
boy dropped on his elbow again, and resumed his reading.
" Oh ! " said Shirley, dismayed now, in spite of her fright,
as she saw all hope fading from her. " Well, is there another-*-
I mean is the other Mr. Graham in?"
Someone stirred in the inner office, and came across to the
door, looking out, someone with an overcoat and hat on. He
looked at the girl, and then spoke sharply to the boy, who
stood up straight as if he had been shot.
" Edward ! See what the lady wants/'
" Yes, sir ! " said Edward with sudden respect.
Shirley caught her breath, and plunged in.
" I would like to see some Mr. Graham if possible for just
a moment." There was something self-possessed and busi-
nesslike in her voice now that commanded the boy's attention.
Her brief business training was upon her.
The figure from the inner room emerged, and took off his
hat. He was a young man and strikingly handsome, with
heavy dark hair that waved over his forehead and fine, strong
features. His eyes were both keen and kind. There was
eomething luminous in them that made Shirley think of
Doris's eyes when she asked a question. Doris had wonder-
, fully wise eyes.
"I am Mr. Sidney Graham," said the young man, ad-
vancing. "What can I do for you?"
" Oh, I wanted to ask you about a barn," began Shirley
eagerly, then stopped abashed. How could she ask this im-
maculate son of luxury if he would rent a young girl his barn
to live in during the summer ? She could feel the color mount-
28 THE ENCHANTED BARN
ing in her cheeks, and would have turned and fled gladly if
a way had been open. She was aware not only of the kind
eyes of the man upon her, but also of the gaping boy taking it
all in, and her tongue was suddenly tied. She could say no
But the young man saw how it was, and he bowed as
gracefully as if asking about barns was a common habit of
young women coming into his office.
" Oh, certainly/' he said ; " won't you just step in here a
moment and sit down? We can talk better. Edward, you
may go. I shall not need you any longer this evening."
" But I am detaining you ; you were just going out ! n
cried Shirley in a panic. "I will go away now and come
again perhaps." She would do anything to get away with-
out telling her preposterous errand.
" Not at all ! " said young Mr. Graham. ef I am in no
hurry whatever. Just step this way, and sit down." His tone
was kindness itself. Somehow Shirley had to follow him.
Her face was crimson now, and she felt ready to cry. What a
fool she had been to get herself into a predicament like this !
What would her mother say to her ? How could she tell this
strange young man what she had come for? But he was
seated and looking at her with his nice eyes, taking in all the
little pitiful attempts at neatness and style and beauty in her
shabby little toilet. She was awfully conscious of a loose fluff
of gold-glinted hair that had come down over one hot cheek
and ear. How dishevelled she must look, and how dusty after
climbing over that dirty barn ! And then she plunged into
" I'M sure I don't know what you will think of my ask*
ing/' said Shirley excitedly, " but I want very much to know
whether there is any possibility that you would rent a beau-
tiful big stone barn you own out on the old Glenside Road,
near Allister Avenue. You do own it, don't you ? I was told
you did, or at least that Mr. Walter Graham did. They said it
belonged to ' the estate.' "
" Well, now you've got one on me/' said the young man
with a most engaging smile. " I'm sure I don't know whether
I own it or not. I'm sorry. But if it belongs to grandfather's
estate, his name was Walter, too, you knoi". why, I sup-
pose I do own part of it. I'm sorry father isn't here. He
of course knows all about it or the attorney of course he
would know. But I think he has left the office. However,
that doesn't matter. What was it you wanted? To rent it,
you say ? "
" Yes," said Shirley, feeling very small and very much an
impostor; "that is, if I could afford it. I suppose perhaps
it will be way ahead of my means, but I thought it wouldn't
do any harm to ask." Her shy eyes were almost filled with
tears, and the young man was deeply distressed.
" Not at all, not at all," he hastened to say. " I'm just
stupid that I don't know about it. Where did you say it was ?
Out on the Glenside Road ? A barn ? Come to think of it, I
remember one of my uncles lived out that way once, and I know
there is a lot of land somewhere out there belonging to the
estate. You say there is a barn on it ? "
"Yes, a beautiful barn," said Shirley anxiously, her eyes
30 THE ENCHANTED BARN
dreamy and her cheeks like two glowing roses. " It is stone,
and has a wide grassy road like a great staircase leading up
to it, and a tall tree over it. There is a brook just below, it
is high up from the road on a little grassy hill."
" Oh, yes, yes/' he said, nodding eagerly, " I see ! It almost
seems as if I remember. And you wanted to rent it for the
summer, you say? You are ah in the agricultural busi-
ness, I suppose?" He looked at her respectfully. He knew
the new woman, and honored her. He did not seem at all
startled that she wanted to rent a barn for the summer.
But Shirley did not in the least understand. She looked
at him bewildered a moment.
" Oh, no ! I am only a stenographer myself but my
mother that is " she paused in confusion.
" Oh, I see, your mother is the farmer, I suppose. Your
home is near by near to the barn you want to rent?"
Then she understood.
" No, oh, no ! she said desperately. " We don't want to
use the barn for a barn at all. I want to use it for a house ! "
It was out at last, the horrible truth ; and she sat trembling
to see his look of amazement.
" Use it for a house ! " he exclaimed. " Why, how could
you? To live in, do you mean? or just to take a tent and
camp out there for a few days ? "
" To live in," said Shirley doggedly, lifting her eyes in one
swift defiant look and then dropping them to her shabby
gloves and thin pocketbook, empty now even of the last precious
nickel. If he said anything more, she was sure she should
cry. If he patronized her the least little bit, or grew haughty,
now that he saw how low she was reduced, she would turn and
fly from the office and never look him in the face.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 31
But he did neither. Instead, he just talked in a natural
tone, as if it were the most common thing in the world for a
girl to want to live in a barn, and nothing to be surprised
over in the least.
" Oh, I see/' he said pleasantly. " Well, now, that might
be arranged, you know. Of course I don't know much about
things, but I could find out. You see, I don't suppose we
often have calls to rent the property that way "
" No, of course not," said Shirley, gathering up her scat-
tered confidence. " I know it's queer for me to ask, but we
have to move they are going to build an apartment-house
where we are renting now, and mother is sick. I should like
to get her out into the country, our house is so little and dark ;
and I thought, if she could be all summer where she could see
the sky and hear the birds, she might get well. I want to get
my little sisters and brothers out of the city, too. But we
couldn't likely pay enough rent. I suppose it was silly of me
" Not at all ! " said the young man courteously, as though
she had been a queen whom he delighted tc nonor. " I don't
see why we shouldn't be able to get together on some kind of a
proposition that is, unless father has other plans that I don't
know about. A barn ought not to be worth such a big price.
How much would you feel like paying ? "
He was studying the girl before him with interested eyes;
noting the well-set head on the pretty shoulders, even in spite
of the ill-fitting shabby blue coat; the delicate features; the
glint of gold in the soft brown hair; the tilt of the firm little
chin, and the wistfulness in the big blue eyes. This was a
new kind of girl, and he was disposed to give her what she
wanted if he could. And he could. He knew well that any-
thing he willed mightily would not be denied him.
82 THE ENCHANTED BAKiN
The frightened color came into the delicate cheeks again,
and the blue eyes fluttered down ashamedly.
" We are only paying fifteen a month now," she said ; " and
I couldn't pay any more, for we haven't got it. I couldn't
pay as much, for it would cost sixty cents a week apiece for
George and me to come in to our work from there. I couldn't
pay more than twelve ! and I know that's ridiculous for such
a great big, beautiful place, but I had to ask."
She lifted her eyes swiftly in apology, and dropped them
again; the young man felt a glow of sympathy for her, and a
deep desire to help her have her wish.
" Why, certainly," he said heartily. " Of course you did.
And it's not ridiculous at all for you to make a business
proposition of any kind. You say what you can do, and we
accept it or not as we like. That's our lookout. Now of
course I can't answer about this until I've consulted father;
and, not knowing the place well, I haven't the least idea what
it's worth; it may not be worth even twelve dollars." (He
made a mental reservation that it should not be if he could
help it.) " Suppose I consult with father and let you know.
Could I write or phone you, or will you be around this way
any time to-morrow ? "
Shirley's breath was fairly gone with the realization that
he was actually considering her proposition in earnest. He
had not laughed at her for wanting to live in a barn, and he
had not turned down the price she offered as impossible ! He
was looking at her in a kindly way as if he liked her for
" Why, yes," she said, looking up shyly, " I can come in
to-morrow at my noon hour if that would not be too soon.
I always have a little time to myself then, and it isn't far
from the office."
THE ENCHANTED BARN 3
"That will be perfectly all right for me," smiled young
Graham. " I shall be here till half -past one, and you can ask
the boy to show you to my office. I will consult with father
the first thing in the morning and be ready to give you an
answer. But I am wondering if you have seen this barn, I
suppose you have, or you would not want to rent it; but I
should suppose a barn would be an awfully unpleasant place
to live, kind of almost impossible. Are you sure you realize
what the proposition would be ? "
"Yes, I think so," said Shirley, looking troubled and
earnest. "It is a beautiful big place, and the outlook is
wonderful. I was there to-day, and found a door open at the
back, and went in to look around. The up-stairs middle floor
is so big we could make several rooms out of it with screens
and curtains. It would be lovely. We could live in picnic
style. Yes, I'm sure mother would like it. I haven't told her
about it yet, because if I couldn't afford it I didn't want to
disappoint her; so I thought I would wait till I found out;
but I'm just about certain she would be delighted. And any-
how we've got to go somewhere."
"I see," said this courteous young man, trying not to
show his amazement and delight in the girl who so coolly
discussed living in a barn with curtains and screens for par*
titions. He thought of his own luxurious home and his com-
fortable life, where every need had been supplied even before
he realized it, and, wondering again, was refreshed in soul by
this glimpse into the brave heart of the girl.
" Then I will expect you," he said pleasantly, and, opening
the door, escorted her to the elevator, touching his hat to
her as he left her.
Shirley would not have been a normal girl if she had no*
34 THE ENCHANTED BARN
felt the least flutter in her heart at the attention he showed
her and the pleasant tones of his voice. It was for all the
world as if she had been a lady dressed in broadcloth and fur.
She looked down at her shabby little serge suit that had
done duty all winter with an old gray sweater under it half
in shame and half in pride in the man who had not let it
hinder him from giving her honor. He was a man. He must
be. She had bared her poverty-stricken life to his gaze, and
he had not taken advantage of it. He had averted his eyes,
and acted as if it were just like other lives and others* neces-
sities ; and he had made her feel that she was just as good as
any one with whom he had to deal.
Well, it was probably only a manner, a kind of refined,
courteous habit he had ; but it was lovely, and she was going
to enjoy the bit of it that had fallen at her feet.
On the whole, Shirley walked the ten blocks to her nar-
row little home feeling that she had had a good day. She was
weary, but it was a healthy weariness. The problem which had
been pressing on her brain for days, and nights too, did not
seem so impossible now, and hope was in her heart that some-
how she would find a way out. It had been good to get
away from the office and the busy monotony and go out into
the wide, open out-of-doors. It was good also to meet a real
nobleman, even if it were only in passing, and on business.
She decided not to tell her mother and the children of
her outing yet, not until she was sure there were to be
results. Besides, it might only worry her mother the more
and give her a sleepless night if she let out the secret about
One more little touch of pleasantness there came to make
this day stand out from others as beautiful. It was when she
THE ENCHANTED BARN 35
turned into Chapel Street, and was swinging along rapidly
in order to get home at her usual time and not alarm he*
mother, that a car rolled quickly past to the middle of the
block, and stopped just under a street-light. In a moment
more a lady came out of the door of a house, entered the ear,
and was driven away. As she closed the car-door, Shirley
fancied she saw something drop from the lady's hand. When
Shirley reached the place she found it waa two great, luscious
pink rosebuds that must have slipped from the lady's corsage
and fallen on the pavement. Shirley picked them up almost
reverently, inhaling their exotic breath, and taking in theil
delicate curves and texture. Then she looked after the
limousine. It was three blocks away and just turning into-
another street. It would be impossible for her to overtake
it, and there was little likelihood of the lady's returning for
two roses. Probably she would never miss them. Shirley
turned toward the house, thinking she ought to take them in,
but discovered that it bore the name of a fashionable modiste,
who would, of course, not have any right to the roses, and
Shirley's conscience decided they were meant by Providence
for her. So, happily, she hurried on to the little brick
house, bearing the wonderful flowers to her mother.
She hurried so fast that she reached home ten minutes
earlier than usual, and they all gathered around her eagerly
as if it were some great event, the mother calling half fear-
fully from her bedroom up-stairs to know whether anything
had happened. She was always expecting some new calamity
like sickness, or the loss of their positions by one or the other
of her children.
" Nothing at all the matter, mother dear ! " called Shirley
happily as she hung up her coat and hat, and hugged Doris.
SO THE ENCHANTED BARN
" I got off earlier than usual because Mr. Barnard had to go
away. Just see what a beautiful thing I have brought you
found it on the street, dropped by a beautiful lady. You
needn't be afraid of them, for she and her limousine looked
perfectly hygienic ; and it wasn't stealing, because I couldn't
possibly have caught her. Aren't they lovely ? "
By this time she was up in her mother's room, with Doris
and Carol following close behind exclaiming in delight over
She kissed her mother, and put the flowers into a glass
beside the bed.
" You're looking better to-night, I believe, dear," said the
mother. " I've been worried about you all day. You were so
white and tired this morning."
" Oh, I'm feeling fine, mother dear ! " said Shirley gayly,
" and I'm going down to make your toast and poach you an
egg while Carol finishes getting supper. Greorge will be here
in ten minutes now, and Harley ought to be in any minute.
He always comes when he gets hungry. My! I'm hungry
myself ! Let's hurry, Carol. Doris, darling, you fix mother's
little table all ready for her tray. Put on the white cloth,
take away the books, set the glass with the roses in the middle
very carefully. You won't spill it, will you, darling ? "
Doris, all smiles at the responsibility accorded her, prom-
ised: " No, I yun't spill it I'll move it tarefully."
There was something in Shirley's buoyant air that night
that lifted them all above the cares that had oppressed them
for weeks, and gave them new hope. She flew around, getting
the supper things together, making her mother's tray pretty,
-and taking little extra pains for each one as she had not felt
able to do before. Carol caught the contagion, and mashed
THE ENCHANTED BARN S>
the potatoes more carefully, so that there wasn't a single lump
" Goodness ! But it's been hot in this kitchen all day,
Shirley/' said Carol. " I had the back door open, but it just
seemed stifling. I got the ironing all done except a table-
cloth, and I guess I can finish that this evening. I haven'fc
got much studying to do for to-morrow. Nellie Waite stopped^
and left me my books. I don't believe I'll have to stay at
home another day this week. Mother says she can get along.
I can leave her lunch all ready, and Doris can manage."
Shirley's conscience gave a sudden twinge. Here had she
been sitting under a lovely tree by a brook, eating her lunch
and dreaming foolish day-dreams about living in a barn,
while Carol stayed at home from school and toiled in the
kitchen! Perhaps she ought to have come home and sent
Carol back to school. And yet perhaps that nice young Mr.
Graham would be able to do something ; she would not condemn
herself until the morrow, anyway. She had tried to do her best.
She had not gone off there selfishly just to have & good time by
herself when her dear ones were suffering. It had been for
Then George came in whistling, and Harley banged in
gayly a minute later, calling to know whether supper waa
"'Cause I gotta date with the fellas this evening, and I
gotta beat it," he declared impatiently.
The shadow of anxiety passed over Shirley's face again at
that, but she quieted her heart once more with her hopes for
to-morrow. If her plan succeeded, Harley would be away from
" the fellas," and wouldn't have so many questionable " dates *
to worry them all.
38 THE ENCHANTED BARN
George was in a hurry, too.
" Gee, Shirley, I gotta be at the store all evening," he said,
bolting his food hurriedly. " I wouldn't 'a' come home, only
I knew you'd worry, and mother gets so upset. Gee, Shirley,
what we gonta do about a house ? It's getting almost time to
move. I went to all those places you suggested at noon to-day,
but there wasn't a vacant spot anywhere. There's some rooms
on Louden Street, but there's all sorts in the house. Mother
wouldn't like it. It's dirty besides. I suppose if we look
long enough we could find rooms ; but we'd have to get along
with only two or three, for they come awful high. We'd have
to have three anyway, you girls and mother in one, us boys in
the other, and one for parlor and kitchen together. Gee !
Wouldn't that be fierce ? I oughtta get a better job. We can't
live that way."
"Don't worry, George; I think we'll find something bet-
ter," said Shirley with a hopeful ring in her voice. " I've been
thinking out a plan. I haven't got it all just arranged in
my mind yet, but I'll tell you about it pretty soon. You don't
have school to-morrow night, do you? No, I thought not.
Well, maybe we can talk it over then. You and I will have to
go out together and look up a place perhaps," and she smiled
an encouraging smile, and sent him off to his school happily.
She extracted a promise from Harley that he would be in
by nine o'clock, discovered that he was only going to a
"movie" show around the corner with one of the fellows
who was going to " stand treat" on account of a wonderful
ball game they had won, found out where his lessons were for
the morrow, promised to help him when he returned, and sent
him away with a feeling of comfort and responsibility to
return early. She washed the dishes and ironed the table-
THE ENCHANTED BARN 39
cloth so Carol could go to her lessons. Then she went up and
put Doris to bed with a story about a little bird that built a
nest in a tall, beautiful tree that grew beside the place where
the little girl lived; a little bird that drank from a little
running brook, and took a bath on its pebbly shore, and ate
the crumbs and berries the little girl gave it, and sat all day
on five little blue eggs.
Harley came in at five minutes after nine, and did his
lessons with her help. George came home just as they finished*
He was whistling, though he looked tired. He said " the
prof." had been "the limit" all the evening. Shirley fixed
her mother comfortably for the night, and went at last to her
own bed, more tired than she had been for weeks, and yet
more happy. For through it all she had been sustained by a
hope; inspired by a cultured, pleasant voice, and eyes that
wanted to help, and seemed to understand.
As she closed her eyes to sleep, somehow that pleasant voice
and those kind eyes mingled with her dreams, and seemed to
promise relief from her great anxieties.
It was with a feeling of excitement and anticipation that
she dressed the next morning and hurried away. Something
was coming, she felt sure, some help for their trying situation.
She had felt it when she knelt for her usual prayer that morn-
ing, and it throbbed in her excited heart as she hurried through
the streets to the office. It almost frightened her to feel so
sure, for she knew how terrible would be the disappointment
if she got her hopes too high.
There was plenty to be done at the office, a great many
letters to answer, and a telegram with directions from Mr.
Barnard. But she worked with more ease than for some time,
and w-i done by half-past eleven. When she took the letter*
40 THE ENCHANTED BARN
out to Mr. Clegg to be signed, he told her that she would not
be needed the rest of the day, and might go at once if she chose.
She ate her bit of lunch hurriedly, and made herself as
fresh and tidy as was possible in the office. Then she took her
way to the fourth floor of the Ward Trust Building. With
throbbing heart and glowing cheeks she entered the office of
Walter Graham, and asked for Mr. Sidney Graham.
The office-boy had evidently received instructions, for he
bowed most respectfully this time, and led her at -once to the
THE afternoon before, when Mr. Sidney Graham had re-
turned to his office from seeing Shirley to the elevator, he
stood several minutes looking thoughtfully at the chair where
she had sat, while he carefully drew on his gloves.
There had been something interesting and appealing in
the spirited face of the girl, with her delicate features and
wistful eyes. He could not seem to get away from it. It had
left an impression of character and a struggle with forces of
which in his sheltered life he had had only a vague conception.
It had left him with the feeling that she was stronger in some
ways than himself, and he did not exactly like the sensation of
it. He had always aimed to be a strong character himself;
and for a young man who had inherited two hundred and
fifty thousand dollars on coming of age, and double that
amount two years later, with the prospect of another goodly
sum when his paternal grandfathers estate was divided, he
had done very well indeed. He had stuck to business ever
since leaving college, where he had been by no means a non-
entity either in studies or in athletics; and he had not been
spoiled by the adulation that a young man of his good looks
and wealth and position always receives in society. He had
taken society as a sort of duty, but had never given it an
undue proportion of his tune and thoughts. Notably he was
a young man of fine balance and strong self-control, not given
to impulsive or erratic likes and dislikes; and he could not
understand why a shabby little person with a lock of gold over
one crimson cheek, and tired, discouraged lights in her
had made so strong an impression upon him.
42 THE ENCHANTED BARN
It had been his intention just before Shirley's arrival to
leave the office at once and perhaps drop in on Miss Harriet
Hale. If the hour seemed propitious, he would take her for
a spin in his new racing-car that even now waited in the street
below; but somehow suddenly his plan did not attract him
deeply. He felt the need of being by himself. After a turn
or two up and down his luxurious office he took the elevator
down to the street floor, dismissed his chauffeur, and whirled
off in his car, taking the opposite direction from that which
would have taken him to the Hale residence. Harriet Hale
was a very pretty girl with a brilliant mind and a royal
fortune. She could entertain him and stimulate him tremen-
dously, and sometimes he almost thought the attraction was
strong enough to last him through life; but Harriet Hale
would not be able to appreciate his present mood nor explain
to him why the presence in his office for fifteen minutes of a
nervy little stenographer who was willing to live in a barn
ehould have made him so vaguely dissatisfied with himself.
If he were to try to tell her about it, he felt sure he would
meet with laughing taunts and brilliant sarcasm. She would
He took little notice of where he was going, threading his
way skilfully through the congested portion of the city and
out into the comparatively empty highways, until at last he
found himself in the suburbs. The name of the street as he
slowed up at a grade crossing gave him an idea. Why
shouldn't he take a run out and hunt up that barn for himself ?
What had she said about it, where it was ? He consulted the
memorandum he had written down for his father's edification.
" Glenside Road, near Allister Avenue." He further searched
his memory. "Big stone barn, wide approach like a grand
THE ENCHANTED BARN 4f
staircase, tall tree overhanging, brook." This surely ought to
be enough to help him identify it. There surely were not a
flock of stone barns in that neighborhood that would answer
He turned into Glenside Koad with satisfaction, and set a
sharp watch for the names of the cross-avenues with a view to
finding Allister Avenue, and once he stopped and asked a man
in an empty milk-wagon whether he knew where Allister
Avenue was, and was informed that it was " on a piece, about
There was something interesting in hunting up his own
strange barn, and he began to look about him and try to see
things with the eyes of the girl who had just called upon him.
Most of the fields were green with spring, and there was
an air of things doing over them, as if growing were a business
that one could watch, like house-cleaning and paper-hanging
and painting. Graham had never noticed before that the
great bare spring out-of-doors seemed to have a character all
its own, and actually to have an attraction. A little later
when the trees were out, and all the orchards in bloom, and
the wild flowers blowing in the breeze, he could rave over-
spring; but he had never seen the charm of its beginnings
before. He wondered curiously over the fact of his keen
The sky was all opalescent with lovely pastel colors along
the horizon, and a few tall, lank trees had put on a soft gauze
of green over their foreheads like frizzes, discernible only to a
close observer. The air was getting chilly with approaching
night, and the bees were no longer proclaiming with their
hum the way to the skunk-cabbages; but a delicate perfume
was in the air, and though perhaps Graham had never even
44 THE ENCHANTED BARN
heard of skunk-cabbages, he drew in long breaths of sweetness,
and let out his car over the smooth road with a keen delight.
Behind a copse of fine old willows, age-tall and hoary with
weather, their extremities just hinting of green, as they stood
knee-deep in the brook on its way to a larger stream, he first
caught sight of the old barn.
He knew it at once by something indefinable. Its sub-
stantial stone spaciousness, its mossy roof, its arching tree,
and the brook that backed away from the wading willows, up
the hillside, under the rail fence, and ran around its side, all
were unmistakable. He could see it just as the girl had seen
it, and something in him responded to her longing to live
there and make it into a home. Perhaps he was a dreamer,
even as she, although he passed in the world of business for a
practical young man. But anyhow he slowed his car down
and looked at the place intently as he passed by. He was
convinced that this was the place. He did not need to go on
and find Allister Avenue though he did, and then turned
back again, stopping by the roadside. He got out of the car,
looking all the time at the barn and seeing it in the light of
the girl's eyes. As he walked up the grassy slope to the front
doors, he had some conception of what it must be to live so
that this would seem grand as a home. And he showed he was
not spoiled by his life in the lap of luxury, for he was able to
get a glimpse of the grandeur of the spot and the dignity of
the building with its long simple lines and rough old stones.
The sun was just going down as he stood there looking up.
It touched the stones, and turned them into jewelled settings,
glorifying the old structure into a palace. The evening was
sweet with the voices of birds not far away. One above the
rest, clear and occasional, high in the elm-tree over the barn,
THE ENCHANTED BARN 45
a wood-thrush spilling its silver notes down to the brook that
echoed them back in a lilt The young man took off his hat
and stood in the evening air, listening and looking. He could
see the poetry of it, and somehow he could see the girl's face
as if she stood there beside him, her wonderful eyes lighted as
they had been when she told him how beautiful it was there.
She was right. It was beautiful, and it was a lovely soul that
could see it and feel what a home this would make in spite of
the ignominy of its being nothing but a barn. Some dim
memory, some faint remembrance, of a stable long ago, and
the glory of it, hovered on the horizon of his mind; but his
education had not been along religious lines, and he did not
put the thing into a definite thought. It was just a kind of
sensing of a great fact of the universe which he perhaps might
have understood in a former existence.
Then he turned to the building itself. He was practical,
after all, even if he was a dreamer. He tried the big padlock.
How did they get into this thing ? How had the girl got in ?
Should he be obliged to break into his own barn?
He walked down the slope, around to the back, and found
the entrance close to the ladder ; but the place was quite dark
within the great stone walls, and he peered into the gloomy
basement with disgust at the dirt and murk. Only here and
there, where a crack looked toward the setting sun, a bright
needle of light sent a shaft through to let one see the inky
shadows. He was half turning back, but reflected that the
girl had said she went up a ladder to the middle floor. If
she had gone, surely he could. Again that sense that she was
stronger than he rebuked him. He got out his pocket flash-
light and stepped within the gloom determinedly. Holding
the flash-light above his head, he surveyed his property disap-
46 THE ENCHANTED BARN
provingly; then with the light in his hand he climbed ID a
gingerly way up the dusty rounds to the middle floor.
As he stood alone in the dusky shadows of the big barn,
with the blackness of the hay-loft overhead, the darkness
pierced only by the keen blade of the flash-light and a few
feebler darts from the sinking sun, the poetry suddenly left
the old barn, and a shudder ran through him. To think of
trying to live here ! How horrible !
Yet still that same feeling that the girl had more nerve
than he had forced him to walk the length and breadth of the
floor, peering carefully into the dark corners and acquainting
himself fully with the bare, big place; and also to climb part
V^ay up the ladder to the loft and send his flash-light searching
through its dusty hay-strewn recesses.
With a feeling utterly at variance with the place he turned
away in disgust, and made his way down the ladders again, out
into the sunset.
In that short time the evening had arrived. The sky had
flung out banners and pennants, pencilled by a fringe of fine
saplings like slender brown threads against the sky. The
earth was sinking into dusk, and off by the brook the frogs
were tinkling like tiny answering silver rattles. The smell
of earth and growing stole upon his senses, and even as he
gazed about him a single star burned into being in the clear
ether above him. The birds were still now, and the frogs
with the brook for accompaniment held the stage. Once more
the charm of the place stole over him; and he stood with hat
removed, and wondered no longer that the girl was willing to
live here. A conviction grew within him that somehow he
must make it possible for her to do so, that things would not
be right and as they ought to be unless he did. In fact, he
THE ENCHANTED BARN 47
had a curiosity to have her do it and see whether it pould
He went slowly down to his car at last with lingering
backward looks. The beauty of the situation was undoubted,
and called for admiration. It was too bad that only a barn
should occupy it. He would like to see a fine house reared
upon it. But somehow in his heart he was glad that it was
not a fine house standing there against the evening sky, and
that it was possible for him to let the girl try her experiment
of living there. Was it possible ? Could there be any mistake ?
Could it be that he had not found the right barn, after all?
He must make sure, of course.
But still he turned his car toward home, feeling reasonably
sure that he had found the right spot ; and, as he drove swiftly
back along the way, he was thinking, and all his thoughts were
woven with the softness of the spring evening and permeated
with its sounds. He seemed to be in touch with nature as he
had never been before.
At dinner that night he asked his father :
" Did Grandfather Graham ever live out on the old Glen-
;ide Road, father?"
A pleasant twinkle came in the elder Graham's eyes.
" Sure ! " he said. " Lived there myself when I was five
years old, before the old man got to speculating and made his
pile, and we got too grand to stay in a farmhouse. I can
remember rolling down a hill under a great big tree, and
your Uncle Billy pushing me into the brook that ran at the
foot. We boys used to wade in that brook, and build dams v
and catch little minnows, and sail boats. It was great sport
I used to go back holidays now and then after I got old
enough Co go away to school. We were living in town then.
48 THE ENCHANTED BARN
but I used to like to go out and stay at the farmhouse. It
was rented to a queer old dick; but his wife was a good sort,
and made the buliiest apple turnovers for us boys and dough-
nuts! The old farmhouse burned down a year or so ago.
But the barn is still standing. I can remember how proud
your grandfather was of that barn. It was finer than any
barn around, and bigger. We boys used to go up in the loft,
and tumble in the hay; and once when I was a little kid I
got lost in the hay, and Billy had to dig me out. I can
remember how scared I was when I thought I might have to
stay there forever, and have nothing to eat."
" Say, father," said the son, leaning forward eagerly,
"Pve a notion I'd like to have that old place in my share.
Do you think it could be arranged? The boys won't care,
I'm sure ; they're always more for the town than the country."
" Why, yes, I guess that could be fixed up. You just see
Mr. Dalrymple about it. He'll fix it up. Billy's boy got that
place up river, you know. Just see the lawyer, and he'll fix
it up. No reason in the world why you shouldn't have the
old place if you care for it. Not much in it for money,
though, I guess. They tell me property's way down out that
The talk passed to other matters, and Sidney Graham said
nothing about his caller of the afternoon, nor of the trip he
had taken out to see the old barn. Instead, he took his father'^
advice, and saw the family lawyer, Mr. Dalrymple, the first
thing in the morning.
It was all arranged in a few minutes. Mr. Dalrymple
called up the other heirs and the children's guardian. An office-
boy hurried out with some papers, and carne back with the
signatures of heirs and guardians, who happened all to be
THE ENCHANTED BARN 49
within reach; and presently the control of the old farm was
formally put into the hands of Mr. Sidney Graham, he having
signed certain papers agreeing to take this as such and such
portion of his right in the whole estate.
It had been a simple matter ; and yet, when at about half-
past eleven o'clock Mr. Dalrymple's stenographer laid a folded
paper quietly on Sidney Graham's desk and silently left the
room, he reached out and touched it with more satisfaction
ihan he had felt in any acquisition in a long time, not except-
ing his last racing-car. It was not the value the paper repre-
sented, however, that pleased him, but the fact that he would
now be able to do as he pleased concerning the prospective
tenant for the place, and follow out a curious and interesting
experiment. He wanted to study this girl and see whether she
really had the nerve to go and live in a barn a girl with a
face like that to live in a barn ! He wanted to see what man-
ner of girl she was, and to have the right to watch her for a
It is true that the morning light might present her in a
very different aspect from that in which she had appeared
the evening before, and he mentally reserved the right to turn
her down completely if she showed the least sign of not being
all that he had thought her. At the same time, he intended
to be entirely sure. He would not turn her away without a
Graham had been greatly interested in the study of social
science when in college, and human nature interested him at
all times. He could not but admit to himself that this girl
had taken a most unusual hold upon his thoughts.
As the morning passed on and it drew near to the noofl
hour Sidney Graham found himself almost excited over the
prospect of the girl's coming. Such foolish fancies as a featf
lest she might have given up the idea and would not come at
all presented themselves to his distraught brain, which refused
to go on its well-ordered way, but kept reverting to the ex*
pected caller and what he should say to her. When at las?
she was announced, he drew back his chair from the desk^
and prepared to meet her with a strange tremor in his whol*
bearing. It annoyed him, and brought almost a frown of
sternness to his fine features. It seemed not quite in keeping
with his dignity as junior member of his father's firm that he
should be so childish over a simple matter like this, and he
began to doubt whether, after all, he might not be doing *
most unwise and irregular thing in having anything at all te
do with this girl's preposterous proposition. Then Shirle^
entered the office, looked eagerly into his eyes ; and he straight'
way forgot all his reasoning. He met her with a smile thai
seemed to reassure her, for she drew in her breath half relieved,
and smiled shyly back.
She was wearing a little old crepe de chine waist that she
had dyed a real apple-blossom pink in the wash-bowl with a
bit of pink crepe-paper and a kettle of boiling water. The
collar showed neatly over the shabby dark-blue coat, and
seemed to reflect apple-blossom tints in her pale cheeks.
There was something sky-like in the tint of her eyes that gave
the young man a sense of spring fitness as he looked at her
contentedly. He was conscious of gladness that she looked aa
THE ENCHANTED BARN 51
good to him in the broad day as in the dusk of evening. There
was still that spirited lift of her chin, that firm set of the
Bweet lips, that gave a conviction of strength and nerve. He
reflected that he had seldom seen it in the girls of his ac-
quaintance. Was it possible that poverty and privation and
Mg responsibility made it, or was it just innate ?
"You you have found out?" she asked breathlessly as
she sat down on the edge of the chair, her whole body tense
"Sure! It's all right," he said smilingly. "You can
rent it if you wish."
"And the price ? " It was evident the strain was intense.
" Why, the price will be all right, I'm sure. It really isn't
worth what you mentioned at all. It's only a barn, you know.
We couldn't think of taking more than ten dollars a month,
if we took that. I must look it over again; but it won't be
more than ten dollars, and it may be less."
Young Graham wore his most businesslike tone to say
this, and his eyes were on the paper-knife wherewith he was
mutilating his nice clean blotter pad on the desk.
" Oh ! " breathed Shirley, the color almost leaving her face
entirely with the relief of his words. " Oh, really ? "
"And you haven't lost your nerve about living away out
there in the country in a great empty barn ? " he asked quickly
to cover her embarrassment and his own, too, perhaps.
" Oh, no ! " said Shirley with a smile that showed a dimple
in one cheek, and the star sparks in her eyes. " Oh, no ! It
is a lovely barn, and it won't be empty when we all get into it."
"Are there many of you ? " he asked interestedly. Already
the conversation was taking on a slightly personal tinge, but
neither of them was at all aware of it.
5* THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Two brothers and two sisters and mother," said the girl
ahjrly. She was so full of delight over finding that she could
rent the barn that she hardly knew what she was answering.
She was unconscious of the fact that she had in a way taken
this strange young man into her confidence by her shy, sweet
tone and manner.
" Your mother approves of your plan ? " he asked. " She
doesn't object to the country ? "
" Oh, I haven't told her yet," said Shirley. I don't know
that I shall; for she has been quite sick, and she trusts me
entirely. She loves the country, and it will be wonderful to
her to get out there. She might not like the idea of a barn
befoiehand; but she has never seen the barn, you know, and,
besides, it won't look like a barn inside when I get it fixed
up. I must talk it over with George and Carol, but I don't
think I shall tell her at all till we take her out there and sur-
prise her. I'll tell her I've found a place that I think she
will like, and ask her if I may keep it a surprise. She'll be
willing, and she'll be pleased, I know!" Her eyes were
smiling happily, dreamily ; the dreamer was uppermost in her
face now, and made it lovely ; then a sudden cloud came, and
the strong look returned, with courage to meet a storm.
" But, anyhow/' she finished after a pause, " we have to
<go there for the summer, for we've nowhere else to go that we
can afford ; and anywhere out of the city will be good, even if
mother doesn't just choose it. I think perhaps it will be
easier for her if she doesn't know about it until she's there. It
won't seem so much like not going to live in a house."
" I see," said the young man interestedly. " I shouldn't
wonder if you are right. And anyhow I think we can manage
between us to make it pretty habitable for her." He was speak-
THE ENCHANTED BARN 53
ing eagerly and forgetting that he had no right, but a flush
came into the sensitive girl's cheek.
" Oh, I wouldn't want to make you trouble," she said.
"You have been very kind already, and you have made the
rent so reasonable ! I'm afraid it isn't right and fair ; it i
such a lovely barn ! "
" Perfectly fair," said Graham glibly. "It will do the
barn good to be lived in and taken care of again."
If he had been called upon to tell just what good it would
do the barn to be lived in, he might have floundered out of
the situation, perhaps; but he took care not to make that
necessary. He went on talking.
" I will see that everything is in good order, the doors
made all right, and the windows I that is, if I remember
rightly there were a few little things needed doing to that
barn that ought to be attended to before you go in. How soon
did you want to take possession ? I'll try to have it all ready
" Oh, why, that is very kind," said Shirley. I don't
think it needs anything; that is, I didn't notice anything,
but perhaps you know best. Why, we have to leave our house
the last of this month. Do you suppose we could have the
rent begin a few days before that, so we could get things moved
gradually? I haven't much time, only at night, you know."
"We'll date the lease the first of next month," said the
young man quickly ; " and then you can put your things in
any time you like from now on. I'll see that the locks are
made safe, and there ought to be a partition put in just a
simple partition, you know at one end of the up-stairs room,
where you could lock up things. Then you could take them
up there when you like. I'll attend to that partition at once,
54 THE ENCHANTED BARN
The barn needs it. This is as good a time as any to put it in.
You wouldn't object to a partition? That wouldn't upset
any of your plans ? "
He spoke as if it would be a great detriment to the barn
not to have a partition, but of course he wouldn't insist if she
" Oh, why, no, of course not," said Shirley, bewildered.
"It would be lovely. Mother could use that for her room,
but I wouldn't want you to do anything on our account that
you do not have to do anyway."
" Oh, no, certainly not, but it might as well be done now
as any time, and you get the benefit of it, you know. I
shouldn't want to rent the place without putting it in good
order, and a partition is always needed in a barn, you know, if
it's to bi a really good barn/'
It wa , well that no wise ones were listening to that con-
versation; else they might have laughed aloud at this point
and betrayed the young man's strategy, but Shirley was all
untutored in farm lore, and knew less about barns and their
needs than she did of Sanskrit ; so the remark passed without
exciting her suspicion.
" Oh, it's going to be lovely ! " said Shirley suddenly, like
an eager child, "and I can't thank you enough for being so
kind about it."
" Not at all," said the young man gracefully. "And now
you will want to go out and look around again to make your
plans. Were you planning to go soon ? I should like to have
you look the place over again and see if there is anything 1
else that should be done."
" Oh, why," said Shirley, " I don't think there could be
anything else; only I'd like 16 have a key to that big front
THE ENCHANTED BARN 55
door, for we couldn't carry things up the ladder very welL
I was thinking I'd go out this afternoon, perhaps, if I could
get George a leave of absence for a little while. There's been
a death in our firm, and the office is working only half-time
to-day, and I'm off again. I thought I'd like to have George
see it if possible; he's very wise in his judgments, and mother
trusts him a lot next to me ; but I don't know whether they'll
let him off on such short notice."
" Where does he work? "
" Farwell and Story's department store. They are pretty
particular, but George is allowed a day off every three months
if he takes it out of his vacation ; so I thought I'd try."
" Here, let me fix that. Harry Farwell's a friend of
mine." He caught up the telephone.
" Oh, you are very kind ! " murmured Shirley, quite over-
come at the blessings that were falling at her feet.
Graham already had the number, and was calling for
Mr. Farwell, Junior.
" That you, Hal ? Oh, good morning ! Have a good time
last night ? Sorry I couldn't have been there, but I had three
other engagements and couldn't get around. Say, I want to
ask a favor of you. You have a boy there in the store I
want to borrow for the afternoon if you don't mind. His
name is George Hollister. Could you look him up and send
him over to my office pretty soon ? It will be a personal favor
to me if you will let him off and not dock his pay. Thank you !
I was sure you would. Return the favor sometime myself if
opportunity comes my way. Yes, I'll hold the phone till
you hunt him up. Thank you."
Graham looked up from the phone into the astonished|
grateful girl's eyes, and caught her look of deep admiration,
56 THE ENCHANTED BARN
which quite confused Shirley for a moment, and put her in a
terrible way trying to thank him again.
" Oh, that's all right. Farwell and I went to prep school
together. It's nothing for him to arrange matters. He says
it will be all right. Now, what are your plans ? I wonder if
I can help in any way. How were you planning to go out ? "
" Oh, by the trolley, of course," said Shirley. How strange
it must be to have other ways of travelling at one's command !
"I did think," she added, half thinking aloud, "that
perhaps I would stop at the schoolhouse and get my sister.
I don't know but it would be better to get her judgment about
things. She is rather a wise little girl."
She looked up suddenly, and seeing the young man's eyes
upon her, grew ashamed that she had brought her private
affairs to his notice ; yet it had seemed necessary to say some-
thing to fill in this embarrassing pause. But Sidney Graham
did not let her continue to be embarrassed. He entered into
her plans just as if they concerned himself also.
" Why, I think that would be a very good plan," he said.
" It will be a great deal better to have a real family council
before you decide about moving. Now I've thought of some-
thing. Why couldn't you all go out in the car with me and
my kid sister ? I've been promising to take her a spin in the
country, and my chauffeur is to drive her down this afternoon
for me. It's almost time for her to be here now. Your
brother will be here by the time she comes. Why couldn't
we just go around by the schoolhouse and pick up your
sister, and all go out together? I want to go out myself,
you know, and look things over, and it seems to me that would
save time all around. Then, if there should be anything you
want done, you know "
THE ENCHANTED BARN 5K
"'Oh, there is nothing I want done/' gasped Shirley.
" You have been most kind. I couldn't think of asking for
anything at the price we shall be paying. And we mustn't
impose upon you. We can go out in the trolley perfectly
well, and not trouble you."
" Indeed, it is no trouble whatever when I am going any-
way." Then to the telephone : " Hello ! He's coming, you
say? He's on his way? Good. Thank you very much,
Harry. Good-by ! "
" That's all right ! " he said, turning to her, smiling.
"Your brother is on his way, and now excuse me just a
moment while I phone to my sister."
Shirley sat with glowing cheeks and apprehensive mind
while the young man called up a girl whom he addressed as
"Kid" and told her to hurry the car right down, that he
wanted to start very soon, and to bring some extra wraps along
for some friends he was going to take with him.
He left Shirley no opportunity to express her overwhelm-
ing thanks, but gave her some magazines, and hurried from
the room to attend to some matters of business before he left.
SHIRLEY sat with shining eyes and glowing cheeks, turn-
ing over the leaves of the magazines with trembling fingers,
but unable to read anything, for the joy of what was before
her. A real automobile ride! The first she had ever had!
And it was to include George and Carol! How wonderful I
And how kind in him, how thoughtful, to take his own sister ?l
and hers, and so make the trip perfectly conventional and
proper! What a nice face he had! What fine eyes! Hf
didn't seem in the least like the young society man she knetf
he must be from the frequent mention she had noticed of hitf
name in the papers. He was a real gentleman, a real noble-
man! There were such. It was nice to know of them notf
and then, even though they did move in a different orbit from
the one where she had been set. It gave her a happier feeling
about the universe just to have seen how nice a man could be
to a poor little nobody when he didn't have to. For of course
it couldn't be anything to him to rent that barn at ten
dollars a month ! That was ridiculous ! Could it be that he
was Chinking her an object of charity ? That he felt sorry for
her and made the price merely nominal? She couldn't have
that. It wasn't right nor honest, and it wasn't respectable !
That was the way unprincipled men did when they wanted to
humor foolish little dolls of girls. Could it be that he
thought of her in any such way?
Her cheeks flamed hotly and her eyes flashed. She sat up
very straight indeed, and began to tremble. How was it she
had not thought of such a thing before? Her mother had
THE ENCHANTED BARN 59
warned her to be careful about having anything to do with
strange men, except in the most distant business way; and
here had she been telling him frankly all the private affaire
of the family and letting him make plans for her. How had it
happened ? What must he think of her? This came of trying
to keep a secret from mother. She might have known it was
wrong, and yet the case was so desperate and mother so likely
to worry about any new and unconventional suggestion. It
had seemed right. But of course it wasn't right for her to
fall in that way and allow him to take them all in his car.
She must put a stop to it somehow. She must go in the
trolley if she went at all. She wasn't sure but she had better
call the whole thing off and tell him they couldn't live in
a barn, that she had changed her mind. It would be so
dreadful if he had taken her for one of those girls who wanted
to attract the attention of a young man !
In the midst of her perturbed thoughts the door opened
und Sidney Graham walked in again. His fine, clean-cut
face and clear eyes instantly dispelled her fears again. His
bearing was dignified and respectful, and there was something
in the very tone of his voice as he spoke to her that restored
her confidence in him and in his impression of her. Her half-
formed intention of rising and declining to take the ride with
him fled, and she sat quietly looking at the pictures in the
magazine with unseeing eyes.
" I hope you will find something to interest you for a few
minutes," young Graham said pleasantly. " It won't be long,
but there are one or two matters I promised father I would
attend to before I left this afternoon. There is an article in
that other magazine under your hand there about beautifying
country homes, bungalows, and the like. It may give you
*0 THE ENCHANTED BARN
some ideas about the old barn. I shouldn't wonder if a few
flowers and vines might do a whole lot/'
He found the place in the magazine, and left her again;
and strangely enough she became absorbed in the article be-
cause her imagination immediately set to work thinking how
glorious it would be to have a few flowers growing where
Doris could go out and water them and pick them. She grew
so interested in the remarks about what flowers would grow
best in the open and which were easiest to care for that
she got out her little pencil and notebook that were in her
<at-pocket, and began to copy somie of the lists, Then
suddenly the door opened again, and Graham returned
The boy stopped short on the threshold, startled, a white
Wave of apprehension passing over his face. He did not speak.
The boy-habit of silence and self-control in a crisis was upon
him. He looked with apprehension from one to the other.
Shirley jumped to her feet.
" Oh, George, I'm so glad you could come ! This is Mr.
Graham. He has been kind enough to offer to take us in hia
car to see a place we can rent for the summer, and it was
through his suggestion that Mr. Farwell let you off for the
There was a sudden relaxing of the tenseness in the young
face and a sigh of relief in the tone as the boy answered :
"Aw, gee ! That's great ! Thanks awfully for the holiday.
They don't come my way often. It'll be great to have a ride
in a car, too. Some lark, eh, Shirley ? "
The boy warmed to the subject with the friendly grasp the
young man gave him, and Shirley could see her brother had
made a good impression ; for young Graham was smiling ap-
THE ENCHANTED BARN 61
preciatively, showing all his even white teeth just as if he
enjoyed the boy's offhand way of talking.
" I'm going to leave you here for ten minutes more until
I talk with a man out here in the office. Then we will go,"
said young Graham, and hurried away again.
" Gee, Shirley ! " said the boy, flinging himself down
luxuriously in a big leather chair. " Gee ! You certainly did
give me some start ! I thought mother was worse, or you'd
got arrested, or lost your job, or something, finding you here
in a strange office. Some class to this, isn't there ? Look at
the thickness of that rug ! " and he kicked the thick Turkish
carpet happily. " Say, he must have some coin ! Who is the
guy, anyway? How'd ya get onto the tip? You don't think
he's handing out Vanderbilt residences at fifteen a month,
" Listen, George. I must talk fast because he may come
back any minute. Yesterday I got a half-holiday, and in-
stead of going home I thought I'd go out and hunt a house. I
took the Glenside trolley ; and, when we got out past the city,
I heard two men talking about a place we were passing. It
was a great big, beautiful stone barn. They told who owned
it, and said a lot about its having such a splendid spring of
water beside it. It was a beautiful place, George; and I
couldn't help thinking what a thing it would be for mother
to be out in the country this summer, and what a wonderful
house that would make "
" We couldn't live in a barn, Shirl ! " said the boy, aghast.
" Wait, George. Listen. Just you don't say that till you
see it. It's the biggest barn you ever saw, and I guess it
hasn't been used for a barn in a long time. I got out of tho
farollev on the way back, and went in. It is iust enormous^
OS THE ENCHANTED BARN
and we could screen off rooms and live like princes. It has
a great big front door, and we could have a hammock under
the tree; and there's a brook to fish in, and a big third story
with hay in it. I guess it's what they call in books a hay-loft.
If s great."
" Gee ! " was all the electrified George could utter. " Oh,
" It is on a little hill with the loveliest tree in front of it,
and right on the trolley line. We'd have to start a little
earlier in the morning ; but I wouldn't mind, would you ? "
" Naw ! " said George, " but could we walk that far ? "
" No, we'd have to ride, but the rent is so much lower it
would pay our carfare."
" Gee ! " said George again, " isn't that great ? And is this
the guy that owns it ? "
"Yes, or at least he and his father do. He's been very
kind. He's taking all this trouble to take us out in his car
to-day to make sure if there is anything that needs to be done
for our comfort there. He certainly is an unusual man for
" He sure is, Shirley. I guess mebbe he has a case on you
the way he looks at you."
"George!" said Shirley severely, the red staining her
cheeks and her eyes flashing angrily. " George ! That was a
dreadful thing for you to say. If you ever even think a thing
like that again, I won't have anything to do with him or the
place. We'll just stay in the city all summer. I suppose
perhaps that would be better, anyway."
Shirley got up and began to button her coat haughtily, as
if she were going out that minute.
"Aw, gee, Shirley ! I was just kidding. Can't you take a
THE ENCHANTED BARN 63
joke? This thing must be getting on your nerves. I nevei
saw you so touchy."
" It certainly is getting on my nerves to have you say a
thing like that, George/'
Shirley's tone was still severe.
"Aw, cut the grouch, Shirley. I tell you I was just
kidding. 'Course he's a good guy. He probably thinks you're
oross-eyed, knock-kneed "
" George ! " Shirley started for the door ; but the irre-
pressible George saw it was time to stop, and he put out an
arm with muscles that were iron-like from many wrestlings
and ball-games with his fellow laborers at the store.
" Now, Shirley, cut the comedy. That guy 5 !! be coming
back next, and you don't want to have him ask what's the
matter, do you? He certainly is some fine guy. I wouldn't
like to embarrass him, would you? He's a peach of a looker.
Say, Shirley, what do you figure mother's going to say about
Shirley turned, half mollified.
" That's just what I want to ask you, George. I don't
want to tell mother until it's all fixed up and we can show if
to her. You know it will sound a great deal worse to talk
about living in a barn than it will to go in and see it all fixed
up with rugs and curtains and screens and the piano and a
couch, and the supper-table set, and the sun setting outside
the open door, and a bird singing in the tree."
" Gee ! Shirley, wouldn't that be some class ? Say, Shirley,
don't let's tell her ! Let's just make her Say she'll trust the
moving to us to surprise her. Can't you kid her along and
make her willing for that?"
" Why, that was what I was thinking. If you think there's
64 THE ENCHANTED BARN
no danger she will be disappointed and sorry, and think we
ought to have done something else."
" What else could we do ? Say, Shirley, it would be great
to sleep in the hay-loft ! "
"We could just tell her we were coming out in the
country for the summer to camp in a nice place where it was
safe and comfortable, and then we would have plenty of time
to look around for the right kind of a house for next winter."
" That's the dope, Shirley ! You give her that. She'll fall
for that, sure thing. She'll like the country. At least, if
it's like what you say it is."
" Well, you wait till you see it."
" Have you told Caro 1 "* asked George, suddenly sobering.
Carol was his twin sister, inseparable chum, and companion
when he was at home.
"No," said Shirley, "I haven't had a chance; but Mr.
Graham suggested we drive around by the school and get her.
Then she can see how she likes it, too ; and, if Carol thinks
so, we'll get mother not to ask any questions, but just trust
" Gee ! That guy's great. He's got a head on him. Some
" Yes, he's been very kind," said Shirley. "At first I told
him I couldn't let him take so much trouble for us, but he
said he was going to take his sister out for a ride "
"A girl ! Aw, gee ! I'm going to beat it ! " George
stopped in his eager walk back and forth across the office,
and seized his old faded cap.
" George, stop ! You mustn't be impolite. Besides, I
think she's only a very little girl, probably like Doris. Ht
jailed her his ' kid sister.'"
THE ENCHANTED BARN 65
"H'm! You can't tell. I ain't going to run any risks.
I better beat it.''
But George's further intentions were suddenly brought
to a finish by the entrance of Mr. Sidney Graham.
"Well, Miss Hollister," he said with a smile, "we are
ready at last. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting so long;
but there was something wrong with one of my tires, and the
chauffeur had to run around to the garage. Come on, George/*
he said to the boy, who hung shyly behind now, wary of any
lurking female who might be haunting the path. " Guess
you'll have to sit in the front seat with me, and help me
drive. The chauffeur has to go back and drive for mother.
She has to go to some tea or other."
George suddenly forgot the possible girl, and followed his
new hero to the elevator with a swelling soul. What would
the other fellows at the store think of him? A whole half-
holiday, an automobile-ride, and a chance to sit in the front
and learn to drive ! But all he said was :
"Aw, gee ! Yes, sure thing ! "
The strange girl suddenly loomed on his consciousness
again as they emerged from the elevator and came out on the
street. She was sitting in the great back seat alone, arrayed
HI a big blue velvet coat the color of her eyes, and George
felt at once all hands and feet. She was a slender wisp of a
thing about Carol's age, with a lily complexion and a wealth
of gold hair caught in a blue veil. She smiled very prettily
when her brother introduced her as " Elizabeth." There was
nothing snobbish or disagreeable about her, but that blue
velvet coat suddenly made George conscious of his own com-
mon attire, and gave Shirley a pang of dismay at her own
little shabby suit.
66 THE ENCHANTED BARN
However, Sidney Graham soon covered all differences ii*
the attire of his guests by insisting that they should don the
two long blanket coats that he handed them; and somehow
when George was seated in the big leather front seat, with
that great handsome coat around his shoulders, he did not
much mind the blue velvet girl behind him, and mentally
resolved to earn eitoagh to get Carol a coat like it some day ;
only Carol's should be pink or red to go with her black eyes
and pink cheeks.
After all, it was Shirley, not George, who felt embarrass-
ment over the strange girl and wished she had not come. She
was vexed with herself for it, too. It was foolish to let a
child no older than Carol fluster her so, but the thought of a
long ride alone on that back seat with the dainty young girl
actually frightened her.
But Elizabeth was not frightened. She had been brought
up in the society atmosphere, and was at home with people
always, everywhere. She tucked the robes about her guest,
helped Shirley button the big, soft dark-blue coat about her,
rem'arking that it got awfully chilly when they were going;
and somehow before Shirley had been able to think of a single
word to say in response the conversation seemed to be moving
along easily without her aid.
<e Sid says we're going to pick up your sister from her
echool. I'm so glad ! How old is she ? About my age ?
Won't that be delightful? I'm rather lonesome this spring
because all my friends are in school. I've been away at
boarding-school, and got the measles. Wasn't that too silly
lor a great big girl like me ? And the doctor said I couldn't
study any more this spring on account of my eyes. It's terribly
lonesome. I've been home six weeks now, and I don't know
THE ENCHANTED BARN 67
what to do with myself. What' s your sister's name ? Carol ?
Carol Hollister? That's a pretty name! Is she the only
sister you have? A baby sister? How sweet! What's her
name? Oh, I think Doris is the cutest name ever. Doris
Hollister. Why don't we go and get Doris? Wouldn't she
like to ride, too? Oh, it's too bad your mother is ill; but
of course she wouldn't want to stay all alone in the house
without some of her family."
Elizabeth was tactful. She knew at a glance that trained
nurses and servants could not be plentiful in a family where
the young people wore such plain, old-style garments. She
gave no hint of such a thought, however.
" That's your brother," she went on, nodding toward
George. " I've got another brother, but he's seventeen and
away at college, so I don't see much of him. Sid's very good
to me when he has time, and often he takes me to ride.
We're awfully jolly chums, Sid and I. Is this the school
where your sister goes? She's in high school, then. The
third year? My! She must be bright. I've only finished
my second. Does she know she's going with us? What fun
to be called out of school by a surprise! Oh, I just know
I'm going to like her."
Shirley sat dumb with amazement, and listened to the
eager gush of the lively girl, wondered what shy Carol would
say, trying to rouse herself to answer the young questioner in
the same spirit in which she asked questions.
Gteorge came out with Carol in a very short time, Carol
struggling into her coat and trying to straighten her hat,
while George mumbled in her ear as he helped her clumsily:
" Some baby doll out there ! Kid, you better preen your
feathers. She's been gassing with Shirley to beat the band
68 THE ENCHANTED BARN
I couldn't hear all they said, but she asked a lot about you.
You should worry ! Hold up your head, and don't flicker an
eyelash. You're as good as she is any day, if you don't look
all dolled up like a new saloon. But she's some looker!
Pretty as a red wagon! Her brother's a peach of a fellow,
"He's going to let me run the car when we get out of the
city limit; and say! Shirley says for me to tell you we're
going out to look at a barn where we're going to move this
summer, and you're not to say a word about it's being a barn.
See ? Get onto that sky-blue-pink satin scarf she's got around
her head? Ain't she some chicken, though?"
" Hush, George ! She'll hear you ! " murmured Carol in
dismay. " What do you mean about a barn ? How could
we live in a barn ? "
"You just shut up and saw wood, kid, and you'll see.
Shirley thinks she's got onto something pretty good."
Then Carol was introduced to the beautiful blue-velvet
girl and sat down beside her, wiapped in a soft furry cloak
of garnet, to be whirled away into a fairy-land of wonder.
CAROL and Elizabeth got on very well together. Shirley
was amazed to see the ease with which her sister entered into
this new relation, unawed by the garments of her hostess.
Carol had more of the modern young America in her than
Shirley, perhaps, whose early life had been more conventionally
guarded. Carol was democratic, and, strange to say, felt
slightly superior to Elizabeth on account of going to a public
school. The high-school girls were in the habit of referring
to a neighboring boarding-school as " Dummy's Ketreat " ;
and therefore Carol was not at all awed by the other girl, who
declared in a friendly manner that she had always been crazy
to go to the public school, and asked rapid intelligent ques-
tions about the doings there. Before they were out of the
city limits the two girls were talking a steady stream, and
one could see from their eyes that they liked each other.
Shirley, relieved, settled back on the comfortable cushions,
and let herself rest and relax. She tried to think how it
would feel to own a car like this and be able to ride around
when she wanted to.
On the front seat George and Graham were already ex-
cellent friends, and George was gaining valuable information
about running a car, which he had ample opportunity to
put into practice as soon as they got outside the crowded
They were perhaps half-way to the old barn and running
smoothly on an open road, with no one in sight a long way
ahead, when Graham turned back to Shirley, leaving George
70 THE ENCHANTED BARN
to run the car for a moment himself. The boy's heart
swelled with gratitude and utmost devotion to be thus trusted*
Of course there wasn't anything to do but keep things just a/)
he had been told, but this man realized that he would do it
and not perform any crazy, daring action to show off. Georgo
set himself to be worthy of this trust. To be sure, young
Graham had a watchful <eye upon things, and was taking no
chances ; but he let the boy feel free, and did not make him
aware of his espionage, which is a course of action that will
win any boy to give the best that is in him to any responsibility,
if he has any best at all.
It was not the kind of conversation that one would ex-
pect between landlord and tenant that the young girl and the
man carried on in these brief sentences now and then. He
called her attetion to the soft green tint that was spreading
over the tree-tops more distinctly than the day before ; to the
lazy little clouds floating over the blue; to the tinting of the
fields, now taking on every hour new colors ; to the perfume in
the air. So with pleasantness of passage they arrived at last
at the old barn.
Like a pack of eager children they tumbled out of the car
and hurried up to the barn, all talking at once, forgetting all
difference in station. They were just young and out on a picnic.
Graham had brought a key for the big padlock ; and clum-
sily the man and the boy, unused to such manoeuvres, unlocked
and shoved back the two great doors.
"These doors are too heavy. They should have ball
bearings," remarked young Graham. " I'll attend to that at
once. They should be made to move with a light touch. I
declare it doesn't pay to let property lie idle without a tenant,
there are so many little things that get neglected.*
THE ENCHANTED BARN 71
He walked around with a wise air as if he had been an
active landowner for years, though indeed he was looking at
everything with strange, ignorant eyes. His standard was a
home where every detail was perfect, and where necessitiea
came and vanished with the need. This was his first view
into the possibilities of " being up against it," as he phrased
it in his mind.
Elizabeth in her blue velvet cloak and blue cloudy veil
stood like a sweet fairy in the wide doorway, and looked
around with delight.
" Oh Sid, wouldn't this be just a dandy place for a party? "
she exclaimed eagerly. " You could put the orchestra over
in that corner behind a screen of palms, and decorate with
gray Florida moss and asparagus vine with daffodils wired
on in showers from the beams, and palms all around the walla,
and colored electrics hidden everywhere. You could run a wire
in from the street, couldn't you? the way they did at Uncle
Andy's, and serve the supper out on the lawn with little
individual rustic tables. Brower has them, and brings them
out with rustic chairs to match. You could have the tree
wired, too, and have colored electrics all over the place. Oh !
wouldn't it be just heavenly? Say, Sid, Carol says they are
coming out here to live, maybe; why couldn't we give them a
party like that for a house-warming ? "
Sidney Graham looked at his eager, impractical young
sister and then at the faces of the three Hollisters, and tried
not to laugh as the tremendous contrast of circumstances was
presented to him. But his rare tact served him in good stead
" Why, Elizabeth, that would doubtless be very delightful ;
but Miss Hollister tells me her mother has been quite ill, and
I'm sure, while that might be the happiest thing imaginable
72 THE ENCHANTED BARN
for you young iolks, it would be rather trying on an invalid.
J guess you'll have to have your parties somewhere else for the
" Oh ! " said Elizabeth with quick recollection, e ' of
course ! They told me about their mother. How thoughtless
of me! But it would be lovely, wouldn't it, Miss HoDister?
Can't you see it?"
She turned in wistful appeal to Shirley, and that young
woman, being a dreamer herself, at once responded with a
" Indeed I can, and it would be lovely indeed, but I've been
thinking what a lovely home it could be made, too."
" Yes ? " said Elizabeth questioningly, and looking around
with a dubious frown. " It would need a lot of changing, I
should think. You would want hardwood floors, and lots of
rugs, and some partitions and windows "
" Oh, no," said Shirley, laughing. " We're not hardwood
people, dear; we're just plain hard-working people; and all
Ire need is a quiet, sweet place to rest in. It's going to be
Just heavenly here, with that tree outside to shade the door-
way, and all this wide space to walk around in. We live in
a little narrow city house now, and never have any place to
get out except the street. We'll have the birds and the brook
for orchestra, and we won't need palms, because the trees and
vines will soon be in leaf and make a lovely screen for our
orchestra. I imagine at night the stars will have almost as
many colors as electrics."
Elizabeth looked at her with puzzled eyes, but half
"Well, yes, perhaps they would," she said, and smiled
* I've never thought of them that way, but it sounds very
THE ENCHANTED BARN 7
pretty, quite like some of Browning's poetry that I don't
understand, or was it Mrs. Browning? I can't quite
Sidney Graham, investigating the loft above them, stood
a moment watching the tableau and listening to the con-
versation, though they could not see him; and he thought
within himself that it might not be a bad thing for his little
sister, with her boarding-school rearing, to get near to these
true-hearted young working people, who yet were dreamers
and poets, and get her standards somewhat modified by theirs.
He was especially delighted with the gentle, womanly way in
which Shirley answered the girl now when she thought
herself alone with her.
George nnd Carol had grasped hold of hands and run
wildly down the slope to the brook after a most casual glance
at the interior of the barn. Elizabeth now turned her dainty
high-heeled boots in the brook's direction, and Shirley was left
alone to walk the length and breadth of her new abode and
make some real plans.
The young man in the dim loft above watched her for a
moment as she stood looking from one wall to the other,
measuring distances with her eye, walking quickly over to the
window and rubbing a clear space on the dusty pane with her
handkerchief that she might look out. She was a goodly
sight, and he could not help comparing her with the girls he
knew, though their garments would have far outshone hers.
Still, even in the shabby dark-blue serge suit she seemed
The young people returned as precipitately as they had
gone, and both Carol and George of their own accord joined
Shirley in a brief council of war. Graham thoughtfully
74 THE ENCHANTED BARN
called his sister away, ostensibly to watch a squirrel high in
the big tree, but really to admonish her about making no
further propositions like that for the party, as the young
people to whom he had introduced her were not well off, an<?
had no money or time for elaborate entertainments.
"But they're lovely, Sid, aren't they? Don't you like
them just awfully? I know you do, or you wouldn't have
taken the trouble to bring them out here in the car with us.
Say, you'll bring me to see them often after they come here
to live, won't you ? "
" Perhaps," said her brother smilingly. " But hadn't you
better wait until they ask you?"
" Oh, they'll ask me," said Elizabeth with a charming
smile and a confident little toss of her head- "I'll make
them ask me."
"Be careful, kid," he said, still smiling. "Eemember,
they won't have much money to offer you entertainment with,
and probably their things are very plain and simple. You
may embarrass them if you invite yourself out."
Elizabeth raised her azure eyes to her brother's face
thoughtfully for a moment, then smiled back confidently once
" Don't you worry, Sid, dear ; there's more than one way.
I won't hurt their feelings, but they're going to ask me, and
they're going to want me, and I'm going to come. Yes, and
you're going to bring me ! "
She turned with a laughing pirouette, and danced down
the length of the barn to Carol, catching her hand and
whirling her after her in a regular childish frolic.
" Well, do you think we ought to take it ? Do you think
I dare give my final word without consulting mother? 1 *
THE ENCHANTED BARN 75
Shirley asked her brother when they were thus left alone for a
" Sure thing ! No mistake ! It's simply great . You
couldn't get a place like this if you went the length and
breadth of the city and had a whole lot more money than
you have to spend."
"But remember it's a barn!" said Shirley impressively.
" Mother may mind that very much."
" Not when she sees it," said Carol, whirling back to the
consultation. " She'll think it's the sensiblest thing we ever
did. She isn't foolish like that. We'll tell her we've found a
place to camp with a shanty attached, and she can't be dis-
appointed. I think it'll be great. Just think how Doris can
run in the grass ! "
" Yes," put in George. " I was telling Carol down by the
spring before that girl came and stopped us I think we
might have some chickens and raise eggs. Harley could do
that, and Carol and I could raise flowers, and I could take
? em to town in the morning. I could work evenings."
Shirley smiled. She almost felt like shouting that they
agreed with her. The place seemed so beautiful, so almost
heavenly to her when she thought of the close, dark quarters
at home and the summer with its heat coming on.
" We couldn't keep a lodger, and we'd have that much less,"
said Shirley thoughtfully.
"But we wouldn't have their laundry nor their room-
work to do," said Carol, " and I could have that much more
time for the garden and chickens."
"You mustn't count on being able to make much that
way," said Shirley gravely. " You know nothing about gar-
dening, and would probably make a lot of mistakes at firsi;
W THE ENCHANTED BARN
"I can make fudge and sandwiches, and take them to
Bchool to sell," declared Carol stoutly ; " and I'll find out how
to raise flowers and parsley and little tilings people have to
have. Besides, there's watercress down by that brook, and
people like that. We could sell that."
"Well, we'll see," said Shirley thoughtfully, but you
mustn't get up toe many ideas yet. If we can only get
moved and mother is satisfied, I guess we can get along. The
rent is only ten dollars."
"Good night! That's cheap enough!" said George, and
drew a long whistle. Then, seeing Elizabeth approaching,
he put on an indifferent air, and sauntered to the dusty
window at the other end of the barn.
Sidney Graham appeared now, and took Shirley over to
the east end to ask her just where she thought would be a
good place to put the partition, and did she think it would
be a good thing to have another one at the other end just like
it? And so they stood and planned, quite as if Shirley were
ordering a ten-thousand-dollar alteration put into her ten-
dollar barn. Then suddenly the girl remembered her fears;
and, looking straight up into the interested face of the young
man, she asked earnestly:
" You are sure you were going to put in these partitions ?
You are not making any change on my account? Because I
couldn't think of allowing you to go to any trouble or expense,
Her straightforward look embarrassed him.
" Why, I " he said, growing a little flushed. " Why,
you see I hadn't been out to look things over before. I
didn't realize how much better it would be to have those
iwrtitions in, you know. But now I intend to do it right.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 77
away. Father put the whole thing in my hands to do as I
pleased. In fact, the place is mine now, and I want to put
it in good shape to rent. So don't worry yourself in the least
Things won't go to wrack and ruin so quickly, you know, if
there is someone on the place."
He finished his sentence briskly. It seemed quite plausibk
even to himself now, and he searched about for a change of
"You think you can get on here with the rough floor?
You might put padding or something under your carpets*
you know, but it will take pretty large carpets " He
looked at her dubiously. To his conventional mind every
step of the way was blocked by some impassable barrier. He
did not honestly see how she was going to do the thing at all.
" Oh, we don't need carpets ! " laughed Shirley gayly.
"We'll spread down a rug in front of mother's bed, and
another one by the piano, and the rest will be just perfectly
all right. We're not expecting to give receptions here, you
know," she added mischievously. " We're only campers, and
very grateful campers at that, too, to find a nice, clean,
empty floor where we can live. The only thing that is troubling
me is the cooking. I've been wondering if it will affect the
insurance if we use an oil-stove to cook with, or would you
rather we got a wood-stove and put the pipe out of one of the
windows ? I've seen people do that sometimes. Of course V?Q
could cook outdoors on a camp-fire if it was necessary, but it
might be a little inconvenient rainy days."
Graham gasped at the coolness with which this slip of a
girl discoursed about hardships as if they were necessities to
be accepted pleasantly and without a murmur. She actually
would not be daunted at the idea of cooking her meals on a fire
78 THE ENCHANTED BARNT
out-of-doors ! Cooking indeed ! That was of course a question
that people had to consider. It had never been a question that
crossed his mind before. People cooked how did they cook?
By electricity, gas, coal and wood fires, of course. He had
never considered it a matter to be called in any way serious.
But now he perceived that it was one of the first main things
to be looked out for in a home. He looked down at the
waiting girl with a curious mixture of wonder, admiration,
and dismay in his face.
" Why, of course you will need a fire and a kitchen," he
said as if those things usually grew in houses without any
help and it hadn't occurred to him before that they were not
indigenous to barns. "Well, now, I hadn't thought of that.
There isn't any chimney here, is there ? H'm ! There ought
to be a chimney in every barn. It would be better for the
ah for the ha^, I should think; keep it dry, you know, and
all that sort of thing. And then I should think it might be
better for the animals. I must look into that matter."
" No, Mr. Graham," said Shirley decidedly. " There is no
necessity for a chimney. We can perfectly well have the pipe
go through a piece of tin set in the back window if you won't
object, and we can use the little oil-stove when if s very hot
if that doesn't affect the insurance. We have a gas stove,
of course, that we could bring; but there isn't any gas in a
Graham looked around blankly at the cobwebby walls as if
expecting gas-jets to break forth simultaneously with his wish.
" No, I suppose not," he said, " although I should think
there ought to be. In a barn, you know. But I'm sure there
will be no objection whatever to your using any kind of a stove
that will work here. This is a stone barn, you know, and I'm
THE ENCHANTED BARN 7S
sure it won't affect the insurance. I'll find out and let you
Shirley felt a trifle uneasy yet about those partitions and
the low price of the rent, but somehow the young man had
managed to impress her with the fact that he was under no
unpleasant delusions concerning herself and that he had the
utmost respect for her. He stood looking down earnestly at
her for a moment without saying a word, and then he began
" I wish you'd let me tell you," he said frankly, " how
awfully brave you are about all this, planning to come out
here in this lonely place, and not being afraid of hard work,
and rough floors, and a barn, and even a fire out-of-doors."
Shirley's laugh rang out, and her eyes sparkled.
"Why, it's the nicest thing that's happened to me in
ages," she said joyously. "I can't hardly believe it's true
that we can come here, that we can really afford to come to
a great, heavenly country place like this. I suppose of course
there'll be hard things. There always are, and some of them
have been just about unbearable, but even the hard things
can be made fun if you try. This is going to be grand ! "
and she looked around triumphantly on the dusty rafters and
rough stone walls with a little air of possession.
" You are rather " he paused " unusual ! " he finished
thoughtfully as they walked toward the doorway and stood
looking off at the distance.
But now Shirley had almost forgotten him in the excite-
ment of the view.
"Just think of waking up to that every morning," she
declared with a sweep of her little blue-elad arm toward the
view in the distance. "Those purply hills, the fringe of
80 THE ENCHANTED BARN
brown and green against the horizon, that white spire nestling
among those evergreens! Is that a church? Is it near
enough for us to go to? Mother wouldn't want us to be too
far from church/'
" We'll go home that way and discover/' said Graham
decidedly. " You'll want to get acquainted with your new
neighborhood. You'll need to know how near there is a
store, and where your neighbors live. We'll reconnoitre a
ttttle. Are you ready to go ? "
" Oh, yes. I'm afraid we have kept you too long already,
and we must get home about the time Carol usually comes
from school, or mother will be terribly worried. Carol is never
later than half-past four."
" We've plenty of time," said the driver of the car, looking
at his watch and smiling assurance. " Call the children, and
we'll take a little turn around the neighborhood before we go
And so the little eager company were reluctantly per-
suaded to climb inta the car again and start on their way.
THE car leaped forward up the smooth white road, and the
great barn as they looked back to it seemed to smile pleasantly
to them in farewell. Shirley looked back, and tried to think
how it would seem to come home every night and see Doris
standing at the top of the grassy incline waiting to welcome
her; tried to fancy her mother in a hammock under the big
tree a little later when it grew warm and summery, and the
boys working in their garden. It seemed too heavenly to
The car swept around the corner of Allister Avenue, and
curved down between tall trees. The white spire in the dis-
tance drew nearer now, and the purplish hills were off at one
side. The way was fresh with smells of spring, and every-
where were sweet scents and droning bees and croaking frogs.
The spirit of the day seemed to enter into the young people
and make them glad. Somehow all at once they seemed to
have known one another a long time, and to be intimately
acquainted with one another's tastes and ecstasies. They ex-
claimed together over the distant view of the misty city with
the river winding on its far way, and shouted simultaneously
over a frightened rabbit that scurried across the road and hid
in the brushwood ; and then the car wound round a curve and
the little white church swept into view below them.
"The little white church in the valley
Is bright with the blossoms of May,
And true is the heart of your lover
Who waits for your coming to-day! "
8* THE ENCHANTED BARN
chanted forth George in a favorite selection of the department-
store victrola, and all the rest looked interested. It was a
pretty church, and nestled under the hills as if it were part
of the landscape, making a home-centre for the town.
"We can go to church and Sunday-school there/' said
Shirley eagerly. " How nice ! That will please mother ! "
Elizabeth looked at her curiously, and then speculatively
toward the church.
" It looks awfully small and cheap/' said Elizabeth.
"All the more chance for us to help ! " said Shirley. " It
will be good for us/'
" What could you do to help a church ? " asked the won-
dering Elizabeth. " Give money to paint it ? The paint is all
" We couldn't give much money/' said Carol, " because we
haven't got it. But there's lots of things to do in a church
besides giving. You teach in Sunday-school, and you wait
on table at suppers when they have Ladies' Aid."
" Maybe they'll ask you to play the organ, Shirley," sug-
"Oh George!" reproved Shirley. "They'll have plenty
that can play better than I can. Eemember I haven't had
time to practise for ages."
" She's a crackerjack at the piano ! " confided George to
Graham in a low growl. u She hasn't had a lesson since
father died, but before that she used to be at it all the time.
She c'n sing too. You oughtta hear her."
"I'm sure I should like to," assented Graham heartily.
u I wonder if you will help me get her to sing sometime if I
come out to call after you are settled."
" Sure ! " said George heartily, " but she mebbe won't do
THE ENCHANTED BARN 88
it. She's awful nutty about singing sometimes. She's not
etuck on herself nor nothing."
But the little white church was left far behind, and the
city swept on apace. They were nearing home now, and
Graham insisted on knowing where they lived, that he might
put them down at their door. Shirley would have pleaded an
errand and had them set down in the business part of the
town; but George airily gave the street and number, and
Shirley could not prevail upon Graham to stop at his office
and let them go their way.
And so the last few minutes of the drive were silent for
Shirley, and her cheeks grew rosy with humiliation over the
dark little narrow street where they would presently arrive.
Perhaps when he saw it this cultured young man would think
they were too poor and common to be good tenants even for a
barn. But, when they stopped before the little two-story brick
house, you would not have known from the expression on the
young man's face as he glanced at the number but that the
house was a marble front on the most exclusive avenue in the
city. He handed down Shirley with all the grace that he
would have used to wait upon a millionaire's daughter, and
she liked the way he helped out Carol and spoke to George as
if he were an old chum.
" I want you to come and see me next Saturday," called
Elizabeth to Carol as the car glided away from the curb ; " and
I'm coming out to help you get settled, remember ! "
The brother and two sisters stood in front of their little
old dark house, and watched the elegant car glide away. They
were filled with wonder at themselves that they had been all
the afternoon a part of that elegant outfit. Was it a dream ?
They rubbed their eyes as the car disappeared around the
84 THE ENCHANTED BARN
corner, and turned to look up at the familiar windows and
make sure where they were. Then they stood a moment to
decide how they should explain to the waiting mother why
fchey happened to be home so early.
It was finally decided that George should go to hunt up a
drayman and find out what he would charge to move their
things to the country, and Shirley should go to a neighbor's
to inquire about a stove she heard they wanted to sell. Then
Carol could go in alone, and there would be nothing to ex-
plain. There was no telling when either George or Shirley
would have a holiday again, and it was as well to get these
things arranged as soon as possible.
Meantime Elizabeth Graham was eagerly interviewing her
brother, having taken the vacant front seat for the purpose.
" Sid, where did you find those perfectly dear people ? I
think they are just great ! And are they really going to live in
that barn ? Won't that be dandy ? I wish mother'd let me go
out and spend a month with them. I mean to ask her. That
Carol is the nicest girl ever. She's just a dear ! "
" Now, look here, kid/' said Graham, facing about to his
sister. "I want you to understand a thing or two. I took
you on this expedition because I thought I could trust you.
" Wll, I don't want a lot of talk at home about this. Do
you understand ? I want you to wait a bit and go slow. If
things seem to be aii right a little later on, you can ask Carol
to come and bee you, perhaps; but you'll have to look out.
She hasn't fine clothes to go visiting in, I imagine, and they're
pretty proud. I guess they've lost their money. Their father
died a couple of years ago, and they've been up against it.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 85
They do seem like awfully nice people, I'll admit; and, if it's
all right later on, you can get to be friends, but you'll have to
go slow. Mother wouldn't understand it, and she mustn't be
annoyed, you know. I'll take you out to see them sometime
when they get settled if it seems all right, but meantime can
you keep your tongue still ? "
Elizabeth's face fell, but she gave her word immediately.
She and her brother were chums ; it was easy to see that.
" But can't I have her out for a week-end, Sid ? Can't I
tell mother anything about her ? I could lend her some dresses,
" You go slow, kid, and leave the matter to me. I'll tell
mother about them pretty soon when I've had a chance to see
a little more of them and am sure mother wouldn't mind.
Meantime, don't you fret. I'll take you out when I go on
business, and you shall see her pretty soon again."
Elizabeth had to be content with that. She perceived that
for some reason her brother did not care to have the matter
talked over in the family. She knew they would all guy him
about his interest in a girl who wanted to rent his barn, and
she felt herself that Shirley was too fine to be talked about in
that way. The family wouldn't understand unless they saw her.
" I know what you mean, Sid/' she said after a thoughtful
pause. " You want the folks to see them before they judge
what they are, don't you? "
" That's just exactly the point," said Sidney with a glean
of satisfaction in his eyes. " That's just what makes you such
a good pal, kid. You always understand."
The smile dawned again in Elizabeth's yes, and she patted
aer brother's sleeve.
86 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Good old Sid ! " she murmured tenderly. " You're all
right. And I just know you're going to take me out to that
barn soon. Aren't you going to fix it up for them a little?
They can't live there that way. It would be a dandy place to
live if the windows were bigger and there were doors like a
house, and a piazza, and some fireplaces. A great big stone
fireplace in the middle there opposite that door! Wouldn't
that be sweet? And they'll have to have electric lights and
some bathrooms, of course."
Her brother tipped back his head, and laughed.
" I'm afraid you wouldn't make much of a hand to live
in a barn, kid," he said. " You're too much of an aristocrat.
How much do you want .for your money ? My dear, they don't
expect tiled bathrooms, and electric lights, and inlaid floors
when they rent a barn for the summer."
" But aren't you going to do anything, Sid ? "
" Well, I can't do much, for Miss Hollister would suspect
right away. She's very businesslike, and she has suspicions
already because I said I was going to put in partitions. She
isn't an object of charity, you know. I imagine they are aU
Elizabeth sat thoughtful and still. It was the first time ID
her life she had contemplated what it would be to be very poor.
Her brother watched her with interest. He had a feeling
that it was going to be very good for Elizabeth to know these
Suddenly he brought the car to a stop before the office of a
big lumber-yard they were passing.
" I'm going in here, kid, for just a minute, to see if I caa
get a man to put in those partitions."
Elizabeth sat meditatively studying the office window
through whose large dusty panes could be seen tall strips of
THE ENCHANTED BARN 87
moulding, unpainted window-frames, and a fluted column or
two, evidently ready to fill an order. The sign over the door
et forth that window-sashes, doors, and blinds were to be had
Suddenly Elizabeth sat up straight and read the sign again,
gtrained her eyes to see through the window, and then opened
the car door and sprang out. In a moment more she stood
beside her brother, pointing mutely to a large window-frame
that stood against the wall.
"What is it, kid?" he asked kindly.
" Sid, why can't you put on great big windows like that ?
They would never notice the windows, you know. It would
be so nice to have plenty of light and air."
" That's so/' he murmured. " I might change the windows
some without its being noticed."
Then to the man at the desk:
" What's the price of that window f Got any more ? "
" Yes," said the man, looking up interested ; " got half a
dozen, made especially for a party, and then he wasn't pleased.
Claimed he ordered sash-winders 'stead of casement. If you
can use these six, we'll make you a special price."
"Oh, take them, Sid! They're perfectly lovely," said
Elizabeth eagerly. " They're casement windows with diamond
panes. They'll just be so quaint and artistic in that stone ! "
" Well, I don't know how they'll fit," said the young man
doubtfully. " I don't want to make it seem as if I was trying
to put on too much style."
" No, Sid, it won't seem that way, really. I tell you they'll
never notice the windows are bigger, and casement windows
aren't like a regular house, you know. See, they'll open
wide like doors. I think it would be just grand ! "
"All right, kid, we'll see ! We'll take the man out with
Us; and, if he says it can be done, I'll take them.""
88 THE ENCHANTED BARN
Elizabeth was overjoyed.
"That's just what it needed!" she declared- "They
couldn't live in the dark on rainy days. You must put two
in the front on each side the door, and one on each end.
The back windows will do well enough."
" Well, come on, kid. Mr. Jones is going out with me at
once. Do you want to go with us, or shall I call a taxi and
send you home ? " asked her brother.
" I'm going with you, of course," said Elizabeth eagerly,
hurrying out to the car as if she thought the thing would be
done all wrong without her.
So Elizabeth sat in the back seat alone, while her brother
and the contractor discoursed on the price of lumber and the
relative values of wood and stone for building-purposes, and
the big car went back over the way it had been before that
They stopped on the way out, and picked up one of Mr.
Jones's carpenters who was just leaving a job with his kit of
tools, and who climbed stolidly into the back seat, and sat as
far away from the little blue-velvet miss as possible, all the
while taking furtive notes to tell his own little girl about
her when he went home.
Elizabeth climbed out, and went about the barn with
them, listening to all they had to say.
The tvo men took out pencils and foot rules, and went
around measuring and figuring. Elizabeth watched them with
bright, attentive eyes, putting a whispered suggestion now and
then to her brother.
" They can't go up and down a ladder all the time," she
whispered. "There ought to be some rough stairs with a
railing, at least as good as our back stairs at home."
"How about it?" said Graham aloud to the contractor.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 89
"Can you put in some steps, just rough ones, to the left?
I'm going to have a party out here camping for a while this
summer, and I want it to be safe. Need a railing, you know,
so nobody will get a fall."
The man. measured the space up with his eye.
" Just want plain steps framed up with a hand-rail ? " he
said, squinting up again. " Guess we better start 'em up this
way to the back wall and then turn back from a landing.
That'll suit the overhead space best. Just pine, you want
'em, I s'pose?"
Elizabeth stood like a big blue bird alighted on the door-
sill, watching and listening. She was a regular woman, and
saw big possibilities in the building. She would have enjoyed
ordering parquetry flooring and carved newel-posts and mak-
ing a regular palace.
The sun was setting behind the purply hill and sending
a glint from the weather-vane on the little white church spire
when they started back to the city. Elizabeth looked wistfully
toward it, and wondered about the rapt expression on Shirley's
face when she spoke of " working " in the church. How could
one get any pleasure out of that ? She meant to find out. At
present her life was rather monotonous, and she longed to have
some new interests.
That night after she had gone to her luxurious little couch
jshe lay in her downy nest, and tried to think how it would be
vto live in that big barn and go to sleep up in the loft, lying
on that hay. Then suddenly the mystery of life was upon
her with its big problems. Why, for instance, was she born
into the Graham family with money and culture and all the
good times, and that sweet, bright Carol-girl born into the
Hollister family where they had a hard time to live at all?
QUITE early the next morning Sidney Graham was in his
office at the telephone. He conferred with the carpenter,
agreeing to meet him out at the barn and make final arrange-
ments about the windows in a very short time. Then he
called up the trolley company and the electric company, and
made arrangements with them to have a wire run from the
road to his barn, with a very satisfactory agreement whereby
he could pay them a certain sum for the use of as much light
as he needed. This done, he called up an electrician, and
arranged that he should send some men out that morning to
wire the barn.
He hurried through his morning mail, giving his ste-
nographer a free hand with answering some of the letters,
and then speeded out to Glenside.
Three men were already there, two of them stone-masons,
working away under the direction of the contractor. Thej
had already begun working at the massive stone around the
windows, striking musical blows from a light scaffolding that
made the old barn look as if it had suddenly waked up and
gone to house-cleaning. Sidney Graham surveyed it with
satisfaction as he stopped his car by the roadside and got out.
He did delight to have things done on time. He decided that
if this contractor did well on the job he would see that he got
bigger things to do. He liked it that his work had beeD
begun at once.
The next car brought a quartette of carpenters, and before
young Graham went back to the city a motor-truck had
THE ENCHANTED BARN 91
arrived loaded with lumber and window-frames. It was all
very fascinating to him, this new toy barn that had suddenly
come into his possession, and he could hardly tear himself
away from it and go back to business. One would not have
supposed, perhaps, that it was so very necessary for him to
do so, either, seeing that he was already so well off that he
really could have gotten along quite comfortably the rest of
his life without any more money; but he was a conscientious
young man, who believed that no living being had a right to
exist in idleness, and who had gone into business from a
desire to do his best and keep up the honorable name of his
father's firm. So after he had given careful directions for
the electric men when they should come he rushed back to his
office once more.
The next two days were filled with delightful novelties.
He spent much time flying from office to barn and back to
the office again, and before evening of the second day he had
decided that a telephone in the barn was an absolute necessity^
at least while the work was going on. So he called up the
telephone company, and arranged that connection should be
put in at once. That evening he wrote a short note \o Miss
Shirley Hollister, telling her that the partitions were under
way and would soon be completed, and that in a few days he
would send her the key so that she might begin to transport
jher belongings to the new home.
The next morning, when Graham went out to the stone
barn, he found that the front windows were in, and gave a
very inviting appearance to the edifice, both outside and in.
As Elizabeth had surmised, the big latticed windows opening
inwards like casement doors seemed quite in keeping with the
rough stone structure. Graham began to wonder why all
92 THE ENCHANTED BARN
barns did not affect this style of window, they were so entirely
attractive. He was thoroughly convinced that the new tenants
would not be likely to remember or notice the difference in
the windows; he was sure he shouldn't have unless his atten-
tion had been called to them in some way. Of course the sills
and sashes were rather new-looking, but he gave orders that
they should at once be painted an unobtrusive dark green
which would well accord with the mossy roof, and he trusted
his particular young tenant would not think that he had
done anything pointed in changing the windows. If she did,
he would have to think up some excuse.
But, as he stood at the top of the grassy slope and looked
about, he noticed the great pile of stones under each window,
from the masonry that had been torn away to make room for
the larger sashes, and an idea came to him.
" Mr. Jones ! " he called to the contractor, who had just
come over on the car to see how the work was progressing.
" Wouldn't there be stones enough all together from all the
windows to build some kind of a rude chimney and fireplace ? "
Mr. Jones thought there would. There were stones enough
down in the meadow to piece out with in case they needed
more, anyway. Where would Mr. Graham want the fire-
place? Directly opposite the front doors? He had thought
of suggesting that himself, but didn't know as Mr. Graham
wanted to go to any more expense.
" By all means make that fireplace ! " said the young
owner delightedly. " This is going to be a jolly place when
it gets done, isn't it? I declare I don't know but I'd like to
come out here and live."
" It would make a fine old house, sir," said the contractor
THE ENCHANTED BARN 98
respectfully, looking up almost reverently at the barn. " I'd
like to see it with, verandys, and more winders, and a few
such. You don't see many of these here old stone buildings
around now. They knew how to build 'em substantial in
those old times, so they did."
"H'm! Yes. It would make a fine site for a house,
wouldn't it? " said the young man, looking about thoughtfully.
"Well, now, we'll have to think about that sometime, per-
haps. However, I think it looks very nice for the present " ;
and he walked about, looking at the improvements with great
At each end of the barn a good room, long and narrow,
had been partitioned off, each of which by use of a curtain
would make two very large rooms, and yet the main section
of the floor looked as large as ever. A simple stairway of
plain boards had been constructed a little to one side of the
middle toward the back, going up to the loft, which had been
made safe for the children by a plain rude railing consisting
of a few uprights with strips across. The darkening slats at
the small windows in the loft had been torn away and shutters
substituted that would open wide and let in air and light
Kough spots in the floor had been mended, and around the
great place both up-stairs and down, and even down in the
basement underneath, electric wires ran with simple lights
and switches conveniently arranged, so that if it became desir-
able the whole place could be made a blaze of light. The
young man did not like to think of this family of unprotected
women and children coming out into the country without all
the arrangements possible to make them feel safe. For this
reason also he had established the telephone. He had talked
it over with the agent, paying a certain sum for its instaila-
94 THE ENCHANTED BARN
tion, and had a telephone put in that they could pay for
whenever they desired to use it. This would make the young
householder feel more comfortable about leaving her mother
out in the country all day, and also prevent her pride from
being hurt. The telephone was there. She need not use it
unless necessity arose. He felt he could explain that to her.
If she didn't like it, of course she could have it taken away.
There were a lot more things he would like to do to make
the place more habitable, but he did not dare. Sometimes
even now his conscience troubled him. What did he know
about these people, anyway? and what kind of a flighty youth
was he becoming that he let a strange girl's appealing face
drive him to such lengths as he was going now? Telephone,
and electric lights, and stairs, and a fireplace in a barn ! It
was all perfectly preposterous; and, if his family should hear
of it, he would never hear the last of it ; that he was certain.
At such times he would hunt up his young sister and cany
her off for a long drive in the car, always ending up at Glen-
side Road, where she exclaimed and praised to his heart's
satisfaction, and gave anew her word not to tell anybody a
thing about it until he was ready.
Indeed, Elizabeth was wild with delight. She wanted to
hunt up some of her mother's old Turkish rugs that were
put away in dark closets, to decorate the walls with pictures
and bric-a-brac from her own room, and to smother the place
in flowering shrubs for the arrival of the tenants; but her
brother firmly forbade anything more being done. He waited
with fear and trembling for the time when the clear-eyed
young tenant should look upon the changes he had already
made; for something told him she would not stand charity,
and there was a point beyond which he must not go if h
wished ever to see her again.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 95
At last one morning he ventured to call her up on the
telephone at her office.
" My sister and I were thinking of going out to see how
things are progressing at the Glenside place," he said after
he had explained who he was. " I was wondering if you
would care to come along and look things over. What time
do you get through at your office this afternoon?"
" That is very kind of you, Mr. Graham," said Shirley,
" but I'm afraid that won't be possible. I'm not usually done
until half-past five. I might get through by five, but not much
sooner, and that would be too late for you."
" Not at all, Miss Hollister. That would be a very agree-
able time. I have matters that will keep me here quite late
to-night, and that will be just right for me. Shall I call for
you, then, at five ? Or is that too soon ? "
" Oh, no, I can be ready by then, I'm sure," said Shirley
with suppressed excitement. "You are very kind "
" Not at all. It will be a pleasure," came the answer.
" Then I will call at your office at five," and the receiver
clicked at the other end, leaving Shirley in a whirl of doubt
How perfectly delightful! And yet ought she to go?
Would mother think it was all right? His little sister was
going, but was it quite right for her to accept this much
attention even in a business way ? It wasn't at all customary
or necessary, and both he and she knew it. He was just doing
it to be nice.
And then there was mother. She must send a message
somehow, or mother would be frightened when she did not
oome home at her usual time.
She finally succeeded in getting Carol at her school, anci
96 THE ENCHANTED BARN
told her to tell mother she was kept late and might not be
home till after seven. Then she flew at her work to get it
out of the way before five o'clock.
But, when she came down at the appointed time, she found
Carol sitting excitedly in the back seat with Elizabeth, fairly
bursting with the double pleasure of the ride and of surprising
" They came to the school for me, and took me home ; and
I explained to mother that I was going with you to look at a
place we were going to move to. I put on the potatoes, and
put the meat in the oven, and mother is going to tell George
just what to do to finish supper when he gets home," she
exclaimed eagerly. "And, oh, isn't it lovely ? "
" Indeed it is lovely/ 7 said Shirley, her face flushing with
pleasure and her eyes speaking gratitude to the young man
in the front seat who was opening the door for her to step
in beside him.
That was a wonderful ride.
The spring had made tremendous advances in her work
during the ten days since they went that way before. The
flush of green that the willows had worn had become a soft,
bright feather of foliage, and the maples had sent out crimson
tassels to offset them. Down in the meadows and along the
roadside the grass was thick and green, and the bare brown
fields had disappeared. Little brooks sang tinklingly as they
glided under bridges, and the birds darted here and there in
busy, noisy pairs. Frail wavering blossoms starred the swampy
places, and the air was sweet with scents of living things.
But, when they came in sight of the barn, Elizabeth and
her brother grew silent from sheer desire to talk and not act
as if there was anything different about it. Now that they
THE ENCHANTED BABN 91
had actually brought Shirley here, the new windows seemed
fairly to flaunt themselves in their shining mossy paint and
their vast extent of diamond panes, so that the two con-
spirators were deeply embarrassed, and dared not face what
they had done.
It was Carol who broke the silence that had come upon
" Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! " she shouted. " Shirley, just look ! New,
great big windows ! Isn't that great ? Now you needn't worry
whether it will be dark for mother days when she can't go
out ! Isn't that the best ever? "
But Shirley looked, and her cheeks grew pink as her eyes
grew starry. She opened her lips to speak, und then closed
them again, for the words would not come, and the tears
jame instead; but she drove them back, ard then managed
" Oh, Mr, Graham ! Oh, you have gone to so much
" No, no trouble at all/' said he almost crossly ; for he had
wanted her not to notice those windows, at least not yet.
" You see it was this way. The windows were some that
were left over from another order, and I got a chance to get
them at a bargain. I thought they might as well be put in
now as any time and you get the benefit of them. The barn
really needed more light. It was a very dark barn indeed.
Hadn't you noticed it? I can't see how my grandfather
thought it would do to have so little light and air. But you
know in the old times they didn't use to have such advanced
ideas about ventilation and germs and things " He felt
he was getting on rather famously until he looked down at
the clear eyes of the girl, and knew she was seeing right
98 THE ENCHANTED BARN
straight through all his talk. However, she hadn't the fact
to tell him so; and so he boldly held on his way, making
up fine stories about things that barns needed until he ail
but believed them himself; and, when he got through, he
needed only to finish with "And, if it isn't so, it ought to
be " to have a regular Water-Baby argument out of it. He
managed to talk on in this vein until he could stop the car
and help Shirley out, and together they all went up the now
velvety green of the incline to the big door.
" It is beautiful ! beautiful I " murmured Shirley in a daze
of delight. She could not yet make it seem real that she was
to come to this charmed spot to live in a few days.
Graham unlocked the big doors, and sent them rolling back
with a touch, showing what ball bearings and careful work-
manship can do. The group stepped inside, and stood to
The setting sun was casting a red glow through the diamond
panes and over the wide floor. The new partitions, guiltless
of paint, for Graham had not dared to go further, were mel-
lowed into ruby hangings. The stone fireplace rose at the
opposite side of the room, and the new staircase was just at
the side, all in the ruddy evening glow that carried rich
dusky shadows into the corners, and hung a curtain of vague-
ness over blemishes.
Then all suddenly, before they had had time to take in
, the changes, more than the fact of the partitions which they
expected, Graham stepped to the side of the door, and touched
a button, and behold a myriad of lights burst forth about the
place, making it bright like noontime.
" Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! " breathed Carol in awe and wonder, and
"Oh!" again, as if there were nothing else to say. But
THE ENCHANTED BARN 9*
Shirley only looked and caught her breath. It seemed a
palace too fine for their poor little means, and a sudden fear
gripped hold upon her.
"Oh Mr. Graham! You have done too much!" she
choked. " You shouldn't have done it ! We can never afford
to pay for all this ! "
" Not at all 1 " said young Graham quickly. " This isn't
anything. The electric people gave permission for this, and
I thought it would be safer than lamps and candles, you know.
It cost scarcely anything for the wiring. I had our regular
man do it that attends to the wiring and lights at the office.
It was a mere trifle, and will make things a lot more con
venient for you. You see it's nothing to the company. They
just gave permission for a wire to be run from the pole there.
Of course they might not do it for every one, but I've some
pretty good friends in the company; so it's all right."
" But the fireplace ! " said Shirley, going over to look at
it. "It's beautiful! It's like what you see in magazine
pictures of beautiful houses."
" Why, it was just the stones that were left from cutting
the windows larger. I thought they might as well be utilized,
you know. It wasn't much more work to pile them up that
way while the men were here than if we had had them carted
Here Carol interrupted.
" Shirley ! There's a telephone ! A real telephone ! "
Shirley's accusing eyes were upon her landlord.
"It was put in for our convenience while the workmen
were here/' he explained defensively. "It is a pay phone,
you see, and is no expense except when in use. It can be
taken out if you do not care to have it, of course; but It
100 THE ENCHANTED BARN
occurred to me since it was here your mother might feel more
comfortable out here all day if she could call you when she
Shirley's face was a picture of varying emotions as she
listened, but relief and gratitude conquered as she turned
" I believe you have thought of everything/' she said at
last. " I have worried about that all this week. I have won-
dered if mother would be afraid out in the country with only
the children, and the neighbors not quite near enough to call ;
but this solves the difficulty. You are sure it hasn't cost you a
lot to have this put in ? "
" Why, don't you know the telephone company is glad to
have their phones wherever they can get them ? " he evaded.
" Now, don't worry about anything more. You'll find hard-
ships enough living in a barn without fretting about the few
conveniences we have been ablo to manage."
" But this is real luxury ! " she said, sitting down on the
steps and looking up where the lights blazed from the loft.
" You have put lights up there, too, and a railing. I was so
afraid Doris would fall down some time ! "
" I'm glad to find you are human, after all, and have a few
fears ! " declared the owner, laughing. <f I had begun to
think you were Spartan through and through and weren't
afraid of anything. Yes, I had the men put what lumber
they had left into that railing. I thought it wasn't safe to
have it all open like that, and I didn't want you to sue me
for life or limb, you know. There's one thing I haven't
managed yet, and that is piping water up from the spring. I
haven't been able to get hold of the right man so far ; but he's
coming out to-morrow, and I hope it can be done. There is r,
spring on the hill back of us, and I believe it is high enough,
THE ENCHANTED BARN 101
to get the water to this floor. If it is it will make your work
much easier and be only the matter of a few rods of pipe."
" Oh, but, indeed, you mustn't do anything more ! " pleaded
Shirley. " I shall feel so ashamed paying such a little rent."
: *But, my dear young lady," said Graham in his most
dignified business manner, " you don't at all realize how much
lower rents are in the country, isolated like this, than they are
in the city ; and you haven't as yet realized what a lot of incon-
veniences you have to put up with. When you go back to the
city in the winter, you will be glad to get away from here."
" Never ! " said Shirley fervently, and shuddered. " Oh,
never ! You don't know how dreadful it seems that we shall
have to go back. But of course I suppose we shall. One
couldn't live in a barn in the winter, even though it is a
palace for the summer"; and she looked about wistfully.
Then, her eyes lighting up, she said in a low tone, for the
young man's benefit alone:
" I think God must have made you do all this for us ! *
She turned and walked swiftly over to one of the new casement
windows, looking out at the red glow that the sun in sinking
had left in the sky ; and there against the fringes of the willowa
and maples shone out the bright weather-vane on the spire of
the little white church in the valley.
"I think God must have sent you to teach me and my
tattle sister a few things," said a low voice just behind Shirley
as she struggled with tired, happy tears that would blur her
eyes. But, when she turned to smile at the owner of the
voice, he was walking over by the door and talking to Carol.
They tumbled joyously into the car very soon, and sped on
their way to the city again.
That night the Hollister children told their mother they
had found a place in which to live.
THE crisis was precipitated by Shirley's finding her mothF
crying when she came up softly to see her.
"Now, little mother, dear! What can be the matter?"
she cried aghast, sitting down on the bed and drawing her
mother's head into her lap.
But it was some time before Mrs. Hollister could recover
her calmness, and Shirley began to be frightened. At last,
when she had kissed and petted her, she called down to tho
others to come up-stairs quickly.
They came with all haste, George and Harley with dish-
towels over their shoulders, Carol with her arithmetic and
pencil, little Doris trudging up breathless, one step at a time,
and all crying excitedly, "What's the matter?"
"Why, here's our blessed little mother lying here all by
herself, crying because she doesn't know where in the world
we can find a house ! " cried Shirley ; " and I think it's time we
told our beautiful secret, don't you ? "
" Yes," chorused the children, although Harley and Doris
had no idea until then that there was any beautiful secret.
Beautiful secrets hadn't been coming their way.
| " Well, I think we better tell it," said Shirley, looking at
George and Carol questioningly. " Don't you ? We don't want
mother worrying." So they all clustered around her on the
bed and the floor, and sat expectantly while Shirley told.
"You see, mother, it's this way. We've been looking
around a good deal lately, George and I, and we haven't
found a thing in the city that would do; so one day I took
THE ENCHANTED BARN 103
a trolley ride out of the city, and I've found something I
think will do nicely for the summer, anyway, and that will
give us time to look around and decide. Mother dear, would
you mind camping so very much if we made you a nice,
" Camping ! " said Mrs. Hollister in dismay. " Doar child 1
In a tent?"
" No, mother, not in a tent. There's a a sort of a
house that is, there's a building, where we could sleep, and
put our furniture, and all; but there's a lovely out-of-doors.
Wouldn't you like that, for Doris and you ? "
"Oh, yes," sighed the poor woman; "I'd like it; but,
child, you haven't an idea what you are talking about. Any
place in the country costs terribly, even a shanty "
" That's it, mother, call it a shanty ! " put in Carol.
" Mother, would you object to living in a shanty all summer
if it was good and clean, and you had plenty of out-of-doors
around it ? "
" No, of course not, Carol, if it was perfectly respectable.
I shouldn't want to take my children among a lot of low-
down people "
" Of course not, mother ! " put in Shirley. "And there's
nothing of that sort. It's all perfectly respectable, and the
few neighbors are nice, respectable people. Now, mother, if
you're willing to trust us, we'd like it if you'll just let us
leave it at that and not tell you anything more about it till we
take you there. George and <~!arol and I have all seen the
place, and we think it will be just the thing. There's plenty of
room, and sky, and a big tree, and birds; and it only costs
ten dollars a month. Now, mother, will you trust us for the
rest and not ask any questions ? "
THE ENCHANTED BARN
The mother looked in bewilderment from one to another,
and, seeing their eager faces, she broke into a weary smile,
"Well, I suppose I'll have to," she said with a sigh of
doubt ; " but I can't understand how any place you could get
would be only that price, and I'm afraid you haven't thought
of a lot of things."
"Yes, mother, we've thought of everything and then
some," said Shirley, stooping down to kiss the thir cheek;
u but we are sure you are going to like this when you see it
It isn't a palace, of course. You don't expect plate-glass
windows, you know."
" Well, hardly," said Mrs. Hollister dryly, struggling with
herself to be cheerful. She could see that her children were
making a brave effort to make a jolly occasion out of their
necessity, and she was never one to hang back ; so, as she could
do nothing else, she assented.
"You are sure," she began, looking at Shirley with
troubled eyes. " There are so many things to think of, and
you are so young."
"Trust me, mudder dearie," said Shirley joyously, re-
membering the fireplace and the electric lights. " It really
isn't so bad ; and there's a beautiful hill for Doris to run down,
and a place to hang a hammock for you right under a big
tree where a bird has built its nest."
" Oh-h ! " echoed the wondering Doris. "And coula I see
" Yes, darling, you can waUih him every day, and see him
fly through the blue sky."
"If s all right, mother," said George in a businesslike
tone. "You'll think it's great after you get used to it
Carol and I are crazy over it"
THE ENCHANTED BARN 105
**But will it be where you can get to your work, both of
yon? I shouldn't like you to take long, lonely walks, you
know/' said the troubled mother.
"Right on the trolley line, mother dear; and the differ-
ence in rent will more than pay our fare."
"Besides, I'm thinking of buying a bicycle from one of
the fellows. He says he'll sell it for five dollars, and I can
pay fifty cents a month. Then I could go in on my bike in
good weather, and save that much." This from George.
" Oh, gee ! " said Harley breathlessly. " Then I could ride
it sometimes, too."
" Sure ! " said George generously.
"Now," said Shirley with her commanding manner that
the children called "brigadier-general," "now, mother dear,
you're going to put all your worries out of your head right
this minute, and go to sleep. Your business is ta get strong
enough to be moved out there. When you get there, you'll
get well so quick you won't know yourself ; but you've got to
rest from now on every minute, or you won't be able to go
when the time comes ; and then what will happen ? Will you
promise ? "
Amid the laughing and pleading of her children the mother
promised, half smilingly, half tearfully, and succumbed to
being prepared for the night. Then they all tiptoed away to
the dining-room for a council of war.
It was still two weeks before they had to vacate the little
brick house, plenty of time to get comfortably settled before
they took their mother out there.
It was decided that George and Shirley should go out the
next evening directly from their work, not waiting to return
for supper, but eating a lunch down-town. Now that the place
106 THE ENCHANTED BARN
was lighted and they had been told to use the light as freely
as they chose, with no charge, the question of getting settled
was no longer a problem. They could do it evenings after
their work was over. The first thing would be to clean house,
and for that they needed a lot of things, pails, pans, brooms,
mops and the like. It would be good to take a load of things
out the next day if possible.
So George went out to interview the man with the moving"
wagon, while Shirley and Carol made out a list of things
that ought to go in that first load. George came back with the
report that the man could come at half past four in the
afternoon ; and, if they could iiave the things that were to go
all ready, he would have his son help to load them, and they
could get out to Glenside by six o'clock or seven at the latest.
Harley might go along if he liked, and help to unload at the
Harley was greatly excited both at the responsibility
placed upon him and at the prospect of seeing the new home.
It almost made up for the thought of leaving " the fellows "
and going to live in a strange place.
The young people were late getting to bed that night, for
they had to get things together so that Carol would not have
her hands too full the next day when she got home from
school. Then they had to hunt up soap, scrubbing-pails, rags,
brushes and brooms ; and, when they went to bed at last, they
were much too excited to sleep.
Of course there were many hindrances to their plans, and
a lot of delay waiting for the cartman, who did not always
keep his word; but the days passed, and every one saw some
little progress toward making a home out of the big barn.
Shirley would not let them stay later in the evenings than
THE ENCHANTED BARN 1C*
ten o'clock, for they must be ready to go to work the next 1
morning ; so of course the work of cleaning the barn progressed
but slowly. After the first night they got a neighbor to sit
with their mother and Doris, letting Carol and Harley come
out on the car to help; and so with four willing workers the
barn gradually took on a nice smell of soap and water.
The old furniture arrived little by little, and was put in
place eagerly, until by the end of the first week the big middle
room and the dining-room and kitchen began really to look
It was Saturday evening of that first week, and Shirley
was sitting on the old couoh at the side of the fireplace, resting,
watching George, who was reeling out a stormy version of
chopsticks on the piano, and looking about on her growing
home hopefully. Suddenly there came a gentle tapping at
the big barn door, and George as the man of the house went
to the door with his gruffest air on, but melted at once whea
he saw the landlord and his sister standing out in front IB
"Are you ready for callers ? " asked Graham, taking off hia
hat in greeting. " Elizabeth and I took a spin out this way,
and we sighted the light, and thought we'd stop and see if wf
could help any. My, how homelike you've made it look ! Say,
this is great ! "
Sidney Graham stood in the centre of the big room, looking
.bout him with pleasure.
The young people had put things in apple-pie order as
far as they had gone. A fire was laid in the big stone fire-
place, all ready for touching off, and gave a homelike, cleared-
up look to the whole place as if it were getting ready for somn
event. On each side of the chimney stood a simple set of book*
108 THE ENCHANTED BARN
shelves filled with well-worn volumes that had a look of being
beloved and in daily intimate association with the family. On
the top of the shelves Carol had placed some bits of bric-a-brac,
and in the centre of each a tall vase. Beside them were a few
photographs in simple frames, a strong-faced man with eyes
that reminded one of Shirley and a brow like George's; a
delicate-featured, refined woman with sweet, sensitive mouth
and eyes like Carol's; a lovely little child with a cloud of
The old couch was at one side of the fireplace, at a con-
venient angle to watch the firelight, and yet not hiding the
bookshelves. On the other side, with its back toward the first
landing of the rude staircase, stood an old upright piano
with a pile of shabby music on the top and a book of songs
open on the rack. On the floor in the space between was
spread a worn and faded ingrain rug, its original colors and
pattern long since blended into neutral grays and browns,
which strangely harmonized with the rustic surroundings. A
few comfortable but shabby chairs were scattered about in a
homelike way, and a few pictures in plain frames were hung
on the clean new partitions. Under one stood a small oak
desk and a few writing-materials. A little further on a plain
library table held a few magazines and papers and a cherished
book or two. There had been no attempt to cover the wide
bare floor spaces, save by a small dingy rug or two or a strip
of carpet carefully brushed and flung here and there in front
of a chair. There was no pretension and therefore no incon-
gruity. The only luxurious thing in the place was the bright
electric light, and yet it all looked pleasant and inviting.
" Say, now, this is great ! " reiterated the young owner ol
the place, sinking into the nearest chair and looking about
THE ENCHANTED BARN 109
him with admiration. " Who would ever have imagined you
could make a barn look like this? Why, you're a genius,
Miss Hollister. You're a real artist."
Shirley in an old gingham dress, with her sleeves rolled
high and her hair fluffing wilfully in disorder about her hot
cheeks, stood before him in dismay. She had been working
hard, and was all too conscious of the brief time before they
must be done ; and to have company just now and such com-
pany put her to confusion ; but the honest admiration in the
young man's voice did much to restore her equilibrium. She
began to pull down her sleeves and sit down to receive her
callers properly; but he at once insisted that she should not
delay on his account, and, seeing her shyness, immediately
plunged into some questions about the water-pipes, which
brought about a more businesslike footing and relieved her
embarrassment. He was soon on his way to the partitioned
corner which was to be the kitchen, telling Shirley how it was
going to be no trouble to run a pipe from the spring and have
a faucet put in, and that it should be done on the morrow,
Then he called to Elizabeth.
" Kid, what did you do with those eats you brought along ?
I think it would be a good time to hand them out. I'm
hungry. Suppose you take George out to the car to help you
bring them in, and let's have a picnic ! "
Then, turning to Shirley, he explained:
" Elizabeth and I are great ones to have something along
to eat. It makes one hungry to ride, you know."
The children needed no second word, but all hurried out
to the car, and came back with a great bag of most deliciouu
oranges and several boxes of fancy cakes and crackers; and
they all sat down to enjoy them, laughing and chattering^
opt at all like landlord and tenants.
110 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Now what's to do next? " demanded the landlord as soon
as the repast was finished. " I'm going to help. We're not
here to hinder, and we must make up for the time we have
stopped you. What were you and George doing, Miss Carol,
when we arrived r "
"Unpacking dishes," giggled Carol, looking askance at
the frowning Shirley, who was shaking her head at Carol
behind Graham's back. Shirley had no mind to have the
elegant landlord see the dismal state of the Hollister crockery.
But the young man was not to be so easily put off, and to
Carol's secret delight insisted upon helping despite Shirley's
most earnest protests that it was not necessary to do anything
more that evening. He and Elizabeth repaired to the dining-
room end of the barn, and helped unpack dishes, pana^ kettles,
knives, and forks, and arrange them on the shelves that George
had improvised out of a large old bookcase that used to be hia
father's. After all, there was something in good breeding,
thought Shirley, for from the way in which Mr. Graham
handled the old cracked dishes, and set them up so nicely, you
never would have known but they were Haviland china. He
never seemed to see them at all when they were cracked. One
might have thought he had been a member of the family for
years, he made things seem so nice and comfortable and
Merrily they worked, and accomplished wonders that night,
for Shirley let them stay until nearly eleven o'clock " just for
once " ; and then they all piled into the car, Shirley and Carol
and Elizabeth in the back seat, George and the happy Harley
with Graham in the front. If there had been seven more of
them, they would have all happily squeezed in. The young
Hollisters were having the time of their lives, and as for the
THE ENCHANTED BARN 111
Grahams it wasn't quite certain but that they were also. Cer-
tainly society had never seen on Sidney Graham's face that
happy, enthusiastic look of intense satisfaction that the moon
looked down upon that night. And, after all, they got home
almost as soon as if they had gone on the ten-o'clock trolley.
After that on one pretext or another those Grahams were
always dropping in on the Hollisters at their work and man-
aging to "help," and presently even Shirley ceased to be
annoyed or to apologize.
The east end of the barn had been selected for bedrooms.
A pair of cretonne curtains was stretched across the long, nar-
row room from wall to partition, leaving the front room for
their mother's bed and Doris's crib, and the back room for
Shirley and Carol. The boys had taken possession of the loft
with many shouts and elaborate preparations, and had spread
out their treasures with deep delight, knowing that at last
there was room enough for their proper display and they need
feel no fear that they would be thrown out because their place
was wanted for something more necessary. Little by little the
Hollisters were getting settled. It was not so hard, after all,
because there was that glorious big " attic " in which to put
away things that were not needed below, and there was the
whole basement for tubs and things, and a lovely faucet down
there, too, so that a lot of work could be done below the living-
floor. It seemed just ideal to the girls, who had been for
several years accustomed to the cramcod quarters of a tiny city
At last even the beds were made up, and everything had
been moved but the bed and a few necessities in their mother's
room, which were to come the next day while they were moving
112 THE ENCHANTED BARN
That moving of mother had been a great problem to Shirley
until Graham anticipated her necessity, and said in a matter-
of-fact way that he hoped Mrs. Hollister would let him take
her to her new home in his car. Then Shirley's eyes filled
with tears of gratitude. She knew her mother was not yet
able to travel comfortably in a trolley-car, and the price of a
taxicab was more than she felt they ought to afford; yet in her
secret heart she had been intending to get one; but now there
would be no necessity.
Shirley's words of gratitude were few and simple, but there
was something in her eyes as she lifted them to Graham's
face that made a glow in his heart and fully repaid him for
The last thing they did when they left the barn that night
before they were coming to stay was to set the table, and it
really looked very cozy and inviting with a white cloth on it
and the dishes set out to look their best. Shirley looked back
at it with a sweeping glance that took in the great, com-
fortable living-room, the open door into the dining-room on
one hand and the vista of a white bed on the other side
through the bedroom door. She smiled happily, and then
switched off the electric light, and stepped out into the sweet
spring night. Graham, who had stood watching her as one
might watch the opening of some strange, unknown flower,
closed and locked the door behind them, and followed her
down the grassy slope to the car.
" Do you know," he said earnestly, " it's been a great thing
to me to watch you make a real home out of this bare barn?
It's wonderful! It's like a miracle. I wouldn't have believed
it could be done. And you have done it so wonderfully! I
can just see what kind of a delightful home it is going to be."
THE ENCHANTED BARN
There was something in his tone that made Shirley forget
he was rich and a stranger and her landlord. She lifted her
face to the stars, and spoke her thoughts.
" You can't possibly know how much like heaven it is going
to be to us after coming from that other awful little house/ 4
she said ; te and you are the one who has made it possible. If
it hadn't been for you I know I never could have done it/'
" Oh, nonsense, Miss Hollister ! You mustn't think of it,
I haven't done anything at all, just the simplest things that
were absolutely necessary."
" Oh, I understand," said Shirley ; " and I can't ever re-
pay you, but I think God will. That is the kind of thing the
kingdom of heaven is made of."
" Oh, really, now," said Graham, deeply embarrassed ; he
was not much accustomed to being connected with the king-
dom of heaven in any way. " Oh, really, you you over-
estimate it. And as for pay, I don't ask any better than the
fun my sister and I have had helping you get settled. It has
been a great play for us. We never really moved, you see.
We've always gone off and had some one do it for us. I've
learned a lot since I've known you."
That night as she prepared to lie down on the mattress and
blanket that had been left behind for herself and Carol to
camp out on, Shirley remembered her first worries about
Mr. Graham, and wondered whether it could be possible that
he thought she had been forward in any way, and what her
mother would think when she heard the whole story of the
new landlord; for up to this time the secret had been beau-
tifully kept from mother, all the children joining to dap
their hands over wayward mouths that started to utter tell-
tale sentences, and the mystery grew, and became almost like
114 THE ENCHANTED BARN
Christmas-time for little Doris and her mother. It must,
however, be stated that Mrs. Hollister, that last night, as she
lay wakeful on her bed in the little bare room in the tiny
house, had many misgivings, and wondered whether per-
chance she would not be sighing to be back even here twenty-
four hours later. She was holding her peace wonderfully,
because there really was nothing she could do about it even
if she was going out of the frying-pan into the fire; but the
tumult and worry in her heart had been by no means bliss.
So the midnight drew on, and the weary family slept for the
last night in the cramped old house where they had lived since
trouble and poverty had come upon them.
SHIRLEY was awake early that morning, almost too excited
to sleep but fitfully even through the night. Now that the
thing was done and they were actually moved into a barn she
began to have all sorts of fears and compunctions concerning
it. She seemed to see her delicate mother shrink as from a
blow when she first learned that they had come to this. Try
us she would to bring back all the sensible philosophy that had
eaused her to enter into this affair in the first place, she
simply could not feel anything but trouble. She longed to
rush into her mother's room, tell her all about it, and get the
dreaded episode over. But anyhow it was inevitable now.
They were moved. They had barely enough money to pay
the cartage and get things started before next pay-day. There
was nothing for it but to take her mother there, even if she
did shrink from the idea.
Of course mother always had been sensible, and all that;
but somehow the burden of the great responsibility of decision
rested so heavily upon her young shoulders that morning that
it seemed as if she could not longer bear the strain.
They still had a good fire in the kitchen range, and Shirley
hastened to the kitchen, prepared a delicate piece of toast, a
poached egg, a cup of tea, and took it to her mother's room,
tiptoeing lightly lest she still slept.
But the mother was awake and glad to see her. She had
been awake since the first streak of dawn had crept into the
little back window. She had the look of one who was girded
for the worst. But, when she saw her daughter's face, the
mother in her triumphed over the woman.
116 THE ENCHANTED BARN
"Whafs the trouble, little girl? Has something hap-
The tenderness in her voice was the last straw that broke
Shirley's self-control. The tears suddenly sprang into her
eyes, and her lip trembled.
" Oh mother ! " she wailed, setting the tray down quickly
on a box and fumbling for her handkerchief. " I'm so wor-
ried ! I'm so afraid you won't like what we've done, and then
what shall we do?"
" I shall like it ! " said the mother with instant determina-
tion. " Don't for a minute think of anything else. Having
done something irrevocably, never look back and think you
might have done something better. You did the best you
could, or you thought you did, anyway ; and there didn't seem
to be anything else at the time. So now just consider it was
the very beet thing in the world, and don't go to fretting
about it. There'll be something nice about it, I'm sure, and
goodness knows we've had enough unpleasant things here; so
we needn't expect beds of roses. We are just going to make
it nice, little girl. Remember that ! We are going to like it.
There's a tree there, you say ; so, when we find things we don't
like, we'll just go out and look up at our tree, and say, c We've
got you, anyway, and we're glad of it ! "
" You blessed little mother ! " laughed Shirley, wiping her
tears away. " I just believe you will like it, maybe, after all,
though I've had a lot of compunctions all night. I wondered
if maybe I oughtn't to have told you all about it ; only I knew
you couldn't really judge at all until you had seen it yourself,
and we wanted to surprise you."
"Well, I'm determined to be surprised," said the brave
little woman; "so don't you worry We're going to hav 4
THE ENCHANTED BARN 117
grand good time to-day. Now run along. It's almost time
for your car, and you haven't had any breakfast yet."
Shirley kissed her mother, and went smiling down to eat
her breakfast and hurry away to the office.
There was a big rush of work at the office, or Shirley would
have asked for a half -holiday ; but she did not dare endanger
her position by making a request at so busy a season. She was
glad that the next day was Sunday and they would have a
whole day to themselves in the new home before she would
have to hurry away to the office again. It would serve to make
it seem less lonely for her mother, having them all home that
first day. She meant to work fast to-daj and get all the
letters written before five if possible. Then she would have
time to get home a few minutes before Graham arrived with
his car, and see that her mother was all comfortably ready.
It was a good deal to put upon Carol to look after everything.
It wasn't as if they had neighbors to help out a little, for
they were the very last tenants in the doomed block to leave.
All the others had gone two or three weeks before.
Thinking over again all the many details for the day,
Shirley walked down to the office through the sunshine. It
was growing warm weather, and her coat felt oppressive
already. She was so thankful that mother would not have to
sleep in those breathless rooms after the heat began. The
doctor had said that her mother needed rest and air and
plenty of sunshine more than anything else. She would at
least have those at the barn, and what did other things mat-
ter, after all ? Mother was game. Mother wouldn't let herself
feel badly over such a silly thing. They certainly were going
to be more comfortable than they had been for several years.
Think of that wonderful electric light. And clear cold water
118 THE ENCHANTED BARN
from the spring! Oh, it was great! And a little thrill of
ecstasy passed over her, the first she had let herself feel
since she had taken the great responsibility of transplanting
her family to a barn.
After all, the day passed very quickly; and, when at half-
past four the telephone-bell rang and Graham's voice an-
nounced that he would be down at the street door waiting for
her in half an hour, that she needn't hurry, he would wait
till she was ready, her heart gave a little jump of joy. It
was as if school was out and she was going on a real picnic
like other girls. How nice of him ! How perfectly lovely of
him! And yet there hadn't been anything but the nicest
friendliness in his voice, such as any kindly disposed landlord
might use if he chose, nothing that she need feel uncom-
fortable about. At least, there was the relief that after to-night
mother would know all about it; and, if she didn't approve,
Shirley could decline any further kindness, of course. And
now she was just going to take mother's advice and forget
everything but the pleasant part.
At home Carol and Harley bustled about in the empty
house like two excited bumble-bees, washing up the few dishes,
putting in an open box everything that had been left out for
their last night's sleeping, getting lunch, and making mother
take a nap. Doris, vibrating between her mother's room and
down-stairs, kept singing over to herself : " We goin' to tun try !
We going* to tuntry! See birdies an' twees and walk on
gween gwass ! "
After lunch was over and the dishes were put carefully
into the big box between comfortables and blankets Carol
helped her mother to dress, and then made her lie down and
take a good long nap, with Doris asleep by her side. After/
THE ENCHANTED BARN 119
that Carol and Harley tiptoed down to the bare kitchen, and
sat on a box side by side to converse.
" Gee ! Ain't you tired, Carol ? " said the boy, pushing
his hair back from his hot face. " Gee ! Don't it seem funny
we aren't coming back here any more? It kind of gets my
goat I sha'n't see the fellows so often, but it'll be great to
ask 'em to see us sometimes. Say, do you suppose we really
can keep chickens ? "
" Sure ! " said Carol convincingly. " I asked Mr. Graham
if we might, George said we ought to, he was such a good
scout you'd want to be sure he'd like it, and he said, c Sure, it
would be great.' He'd like to come out and see them some-
times. He said he used to keep chickens himself when he
was a kid, and he shouldn't wonder if they had a few too
many at their place they could spare to start with. He told
me he'd look it up and see soon's we got settled."
" Gee ! He's a peach, isn't he ? Say, has he got a case on
" I don't know," said the girl thoughtfully ; " maybe he
has, but he doesn't know it yet, I guess. But anyhow you
must promise me you will never breathe such a word. Why,
Shirley would just bust right up if you did. I said & little
something to her like that once; it wasn't much, only just
that he was awfully nice and I guessed he liked her by the
way he looked at her, and she just fairly froze. You know the
way her eyes get when she is sore at us? And she said I
must never, never even think anything like that, or she would
give the place right up, and get a few rooms down on South
Street, and stay in the city all summer ! She said Mr. Graham
was a gentleman, and she was only a working girl, and it
would be a disgrace for her to accept any favors from him
THE ENCHANTED BARN
except what she could pay for, and an insult for him to offei
them, because she was only a working girl and he was a
gentleman, you know."
" H'm ! " growled Harley. " I guess our sister's as good
as he is any day/'
" Of course ! " snapped Carol ; " but then he might not
" Well, if he don't, he can go to thunder ! " bristled Harley
wrathf ully. " I'm not going to have him looking down on
Shirley. She's as good as his baby-doll sister with her pink
cheeks, and her little white hands, and her high heels and airs,
any day ! She's a nut, she is."
" Harley ! You stop ! " declared Carol, getting wrathful.
" Elizabeth's a dear, and you're not going to talk about her
that way. Just betause she is pretty and doesn't have to work."
"Well, you said her brother looked down on our sister,"
"I did not! I only said he might! I only meant that
was the way some gentlemen would. I only said people kind
of expect gentlemen to do that."
" Not if they're real gentlemen, they won't. And anyhow
he won't. If I find him looking down on my sister Shirley,
I'll punch his face for him. Yes, I will! I'm not afraid.
George and I could beat the stuffing out of him, and we will if
be does any looking-down stunts, and don't you forget it ! "
" Well, I'm sure he doesn't," said Carol pacifically, trying
to put a soothing sound into her voice as wise elder sisters
learn to do. "You see if he did look down on her, Shirley
would know it; right away she'd know it. Nobody would
have to tell her! She'd see it in his voice and smile and
everything. And, if he had, she wouldn't have gone out there
THE ENCHANTED BARN 121
to live in the place he owns, you know. So I guess you can
trust Shirley. I think he's been just dandy, fixing up that
fireplace and stairs and lights and water and everything."
" Well, mebbe ! " said Harley grudgingly. " Say, this is
slow. I'm going out to meet the fellows when they come
from school, and see what the score of the game is. Gee ! I
wish I could play to-day ! "
" You'll be sure to come back in time?" asked Carol
" Sure ! You don't suppose I'd miss going out 121 that
car, do you ? " said the brother contemptuously. " Not on
your tintype ! "
" Well, maybe there won't be room for you. Maybe Eliza-
beth'll come along, and you'll have to go in the trolley with
" No chance ! " declared the boy. " Mr. Graham said I
should ride with him 'n the front seat, and he looks like a
man that kept his word."
" You see ! You know he's a gentleman ! " triumphed
Carol. " Well, I think you'd better stay here with me. You'll
forget and be late, and make a mess waiting for you."
" No, I won't ! " said the restless boy. " I can't be bothered
sticking round this dump all afternoon " ; and Harley seized
his cap, and disappeared with a whoop around the corner.
| After he was gone Carol found she was tired out herself, and,
jcurling up on a mattress that was lying ready for the cart^nan,
was soon asleep. It was so that Harley found her when he
hurried back an hour later, a trifle anxious, it must be con-
fessed, lest he had stayed too long. He stirred up the small
household noisily, and in no time had Carol in a panic brew-
Ing the cup of tea that was to give her mother strength to take
122 THE ENCHANTED BARN
the journey, dressing Doris, smoothing her own hair, putting
the last things into bags and baskets and boxes, and directing
the cartman, who arrived half an hour sooner than he prom-
ised. Carol was quite a little woman, going from one thing
to another and taking the place of everybody.
Meantime Elizabeth Graham and her brother had been
spending the afternoon in business of their own. It was
Elizabeth who had suggested it, and her brother saw no reason
why she should not carry out her plan and why he should
not help her.
She came down in the car after lunch, the chauffeur driving
her, a great basket of cut and potted flowers from the home
conservatory in the tonneau beside her, carefully wrapped in
wax-paper. She stopped at the office for her brother, and
together they went about to several shops giving orders and
making purchases. When they had finished they drove out
to Glenside to unpack their bundles and baskets. Graham left
Elizabeth with the old servant to help her, and drove rapidly
back to his office, where he telephoned to Shirley.
Certainly Elizabeth had never had such fun in her life.
She scarcely knew which delightful thing to do first, and she
had only about two hours to complete her arrangements before
the family would arrive.
She decided to decorate first, and the great hamper of
flowers was forthwith brought into the barn, and the chauffeur
set to work twining ropes and sprays of smilax and asparagus
fern oyer doorways and pictures, and training it like a vine
about the stone chimney. Then come the flowers. Pots of
tall starry lilies, great, heavy-headed, exquisite-breathed roses,
pink, white, yellow, and crimson; daffodils and sweet peas,
with quantities of sweet violets in the bottom of the basket.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 123
Elizabeth with deft fingers selected the flowers skilfully, put-
ting pots of lilies on the window-sills, massing a quantity of
pink roses in a dull gray jar she found among the kitchen
things, that looked to the initiated amazingly as though it
might once have been part of a water-filter, but it suited the
pink roses wonderfully. The tall vases on the bookcases each
side of the fireplace held daffodils. Sweet peas were glowing
in small vases and glasses and bowls, and violets in saucers
filled the air with fragrance. White and yellow roses were on
the dining-table, and three exquisite tall crimson rosebuds
glowed in a slender glass vase Elizabeth had brought with her.
This she placed in Mrs. Hollister's room on the little stand
that she judged would be placed beside the bed when the bed
arrived. The flowers certainly did give an atmosphere to the
place in more senses than one; and the girl was delighted,
and fluttered from one spot to another, changing the position
of a vase or bowl, and then standing off to get the effect.
" Now bring me the big bundle, Jenkins, please/' she said
at length when she was satisfied with the effect. " Oh, and
1he little long box. Be careful. It is broken at one end, and
the screws may fall out."
Jenkins was soon back with the things.
" Now, you get the rods put up at the windows, Jenkins,
while I get out the curtains/' and she untied the big bundle
with eager fingers.
Jenkins was adaptable, and the rods were simple affairs.
He was soon at work, and Elizabeth ran the rods into the
They were not elegant curtains. Graham had insisted that
phe should get nothing elaborate, nothing that would be out
of keeping with the simplicity. They were soft and straight
THE ENCHANTED BARN
and creamy, with a frost-like pattern rambling over them in
threads of the same, illuminated here and there with a
single rose and a leaf in color. There was something cheer-
ful and spring-like to them, and yet they looked exceedingly
plain and suitable, no ruffles or trimming of any kind, just
hems. To Elizabeth's mind they had been very cheap. Shirley
would have exclaimed over their beauty wistfully and turned
from them with a gasp when she heard their price. They
were one of those quiet fitting things that cost without flaunt-
ing it. They transformed the room into a dream.
"Oh, isn't it beautiful!" exclaimed Elizabeth, standing
back to look as the first curtain went up.
" Yes, Miss, it's very stunning, Miss," said the man, work-
ing away with good will in his face.
When the curtains were all up, Elizabeth pinned one of
her cards to the curtain nearest the front door, inscribed,
"With love from Elizabeth."
Then in a panic she looked at her watch.
" Oh Jenkins ! It's almost six o'clock," she cried in dis-
may. "They might get here by half -past, perhaps. We
must hurry! Bring the other things in quick now, please."
So Jenkins brought them in, bundles and bags and boxes,
an ice-cream freezer, and last of all the cooking-outfit belong-
ing to their touring-car.
" Now you get the hot things ready, Jenkins, while I fix
tiie table/' directed the girl.
Jenkins, well trained in such things, went to work, opening
cans and starting his chafing-dish fire. Elizabeth with eager
fingers opened her parcels.
A great platter of delicious triangular chicken Sandwiches,
a dish of fruit and nut salad surrounded by crisp lettuos
THE ENCHAiSTTED BARN 125
leaves, a plate of delicate rolls, cream puffs, chocolate eclairs,
macaroons, a cocoanut pie, things she liked herself ; and then
because she knew no feast without them there were olives,
salted almonds, and bonbons as a matter of course.
Delicious odors from the kitchen end of the room began
to fill the air. Jenkins was heating a pail of rich soup
chicken with rice and gumbo from one of the best caterers
in the city. He was making rich cocoa to be eaten with
whipped cream that Elizabeth was pouring into a glass
pitcher; the pitcher came from the ten-cent store if she had
only known it. Jenkins was cooking canned peas and heating
lovely little brown potato croquettes. The ice-cream freezer
was out in full sight, where they could never miss it. Every-
thing was ready now.
" Jenkins, you better light up that queer stove of theirs
now if you're sure you know how, she said it was just like
a lamp the way it worked, and put those things in the oven
to keep warm. Then we'll pack up our things, and hide them
out in the grass where they can't see, and get them in the
car when they get out. Hurry, for they'll be here very soon
now, I think."
Elizabeth stuck a card in the middle of the rose-bow?, that
said in pretty letters, " Welcome Home," stood back a minute
to see how everything looked, and then fluttered to the door
to WR+fh for the car.
WHEK SMrley came down to the street at five o'clock.
Graham was waiting for her as he promised, and swung the
car door open for her with as much eagerness as if he were
taking the girl of his choice on a picnic instead of just doing
a poor little stenographer a kindness.
" I telephoned to the store and sent a message to George.
We're going to pick him up on our way," he said as the car
wended its way skilfully through the traffic.
She was sitting beside him, and he looked down at her as
if they were partners in a pleasant scheme. A strange sense
of companionship with him thrilled through her, and waa
properly rebuked and fled at once, without really rippling
the surface of her joy much. She had determined to have
the pleasure out of this one evening ride at least, and would
not let her thoughts play truant to suggest what wider,
sweeter realms might be for other girls. She was having this
good time. It was for her and no one else, and she would
just enjoy it as much as she could, and keep it the sweet, sane,
innocent pleasure that it really was. If she was not a fool,
everything would be all right.
George was waiting in a quiver of pride and eagerness for
them as they swept up to the employees' entrance, and a line
of admiring fellow-laborers stood gaping on the sidewalk to
watch his departure.
"Oh, gee! Isn't this great?" shouted George, climbing
into the back seat hilariously. "Got a whole < *mnibus of a
oar this time, haven't you?"
THE ENCHANTED BARN 127
"Yes, I thought we'd have plenty of room for your
mother, so she could lie down if she liked."
" That was very kind of you," murmured Shirley. " You
think of everything, don't you? I'm sure I don't see how
we ever could have managed without your help. I should
have been frightened a dozen times and been ready to give up."
" Not you ! " said Graham fervently. " You're the kind
that never gives up. You've taught me several valuable
As they turned the corner into the old street where the
little brick house stood, Shirley suddenly began to have a
vivid realization that she had told her mother nothing what-
ever about Mr. Graham. What would she think, and how
could she explain his presence? She had expected to get
there before Graham arrived and have time enough to make
her mother understand, but now she began to realize that her
real reason for leaving the matter yet unexplained was that
she did not know just what to say without telling the whole
story from beginning to end.
" I'll hurry in and see if mother is all ready," she said, as
the car stopped in front of the house, and the children rushed
out eagerly, Doris just behind the others, to see the " booful
" Mother," said Shirley, slipping softly into the house and
going over to the bed where she lay with hat and coat on, fully
ready. " Mother, I sha'n't have time to explain all about it,
but it's all right; so don't think anything. Mr. Graham, the
man who owns the place where we are going, has been kind
enough to offer to take you in his car. He thinks it will be
easier for you than the trolley, and he is out at tn-e door now
waiting. It's perfectly all right He has been very kind
about it -"
128 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Oh daughter, I couldn't think of troubling any one liie
that ! " said the mother, shrinking from the thought of a
stranger ; but, looking up, she saw him standing, hat in hand,
just in the doorway. The children had led him to the door
when he offered to help their mother out to the car.
" Mother, this is Mr. Graham/' said Shirley.
Mrs. Hollister, a little pink spot on each cheek, tried to
rise, but the young man came forward instantly and stooped
" Don't try to get up, Mrs. Hollister. Your daughter tells
me you haven't been walking about for several weeks. You
must reserve all your strength for the journey. Just trust me.
I'm perfectly strong, and I can lift you and put you into the
car almost without your knowing it. I often carry my own
mother up-stairs just for fun, and she's quite a lot larger and
heavier than you. Just let me put my hand under your back
so, and now this hand here. Now if you'll put your arms
around my neck yes, that way no, don't be a bit afraid.
I'm perfectly strong, and I won't drop you."
Little Mrs. Hollister cast a frightened look at her daughter
and another at the fine, strong face bent above her, felt herself
lifted like thistle-down before she had had time to protest,
and found herself obediently putting her weak arms around
his neck and resting her frightened head against a strong
shoulder. A second more, and she was lying on the soft
cushions of the car, and the young man was piling pillows
about her and tucking her up with soft, furry robes.
<; Are you perfectly comfortable ? " he asked anxiously. " I
didn't strain your back or tire you, did I ? "
" Oh, no, indeed ! " said the bewildered woman. " You
are very kind, and I hardly knew what you were doing till I
THE ENCHANTED BARN 139
was here. I never dreamed of anything like this. Shirley
didn't tell me about it"
" No/' said the young man, smiling, " she said she wanted
to surprise you; and I believe she thought you might worry
a little if you heard the details of the journey. Now, kitten,
are you ready to get in ? " He turned a smiling face to Doris,
who stood solemnly waiting her turn, with an expression of
one who at last sees the gates of the kingdom of heaveo
opening before her happy eyes.
" Soor ! " said Doris in a tone as like Harley's as possible.
She lifted one little shabby shoe, and tried to reach the step,
but failed, and then surrendered her trusting hands to the
young man ; and he lifted her in beside her mother.
"Sit there, kitten, till your sister coiaes out," he said,
looking at her flower face admiringly.
" I ain't a kitty," she declared; " I'se a 'ittle gurrul! "
" Well, little girl, do you like to go riding? "
" Soor! I do 'ike to go widin' ! " said Doris. " Oh ! There
goes muwer's bed ! " as the drayman came out carrying the
Shirley meanwhile was working rapidly, putting the last
things from her mother's bed into the box, tossing things into
the empty clothes-basket that had been left for this purpose,
and directing the man who was taking down the bed and car-
rying out the boxes and baskets. At last all the things were
out of the house, and she was free to go. She turned for one
swift moment, and caught a sob in her throat. There had
not been time for it before. It had come when she saw the
young man stoop and lift her mother so tenderly and bear
her out to the car.
130 THE ENCHANTED BARN
But the children were calling her loudly to come. She
gave one happy dab at her eyes with her handkerchief to make
sure no tears had escaped, and went out of the little brick
A little middle seat had been turned down for Carol, and
Doris was in her lap. Graham turned the other middle seat
down for Shirley; the boys piled into the front seat with him;
and they were off. Mrs. Hollister in her wonder over it all
completely forgot to look back into what she had been wont to
call in the stifling days of summer her "frying-pan," or to
wonder whether she were about to jump into the fire. She
just lay back on her soft cushions, softer than any she had
ever rested upon before, and felt herself glide along away from
the hated little dark house forever! It was a wonderful ex-
perience. It almost seemed as if a chariot of fire had swooped
down and gathered all her little flock with her, and was
carrying them tc some kind of gracious heaven where comfort
would be found at last. A bit of hope sprang up within her,
utterly unpremeditated and unreasonable, and persisted so
that she could not help feeling happy. As yet it had not
come to her to wonder who this handsome young man wae
that presumed to lift her and carry her like a baby, and move
her on beds of down to utterly unknown regions. She was
too much taken. up with the wonder of it all. If Doris hadn't
been prattling, asking questions of her, and the light breeze
hadn't flapped a lock of hair into her eyes and tickled her
nose, she might have thought she was dreaming, so utterly
unreal did it all seem to her.
And now they passed out from the narrow streets, through
crowded thoroughfares for a brief space, then out beyond,
ar.d free, into the wider reaches. Fair houses and glimpsed
THE ENCHANTED BARN 131
of green were appearing. The car was gliding smoothly, for
the sake of the invalid not going at high speed; and she
could see on every side. The trees were in full leaf; the sky
was large and blue; the air was filled with freshness. She
drew a long breath ; and closed her eyes to pray, " Oh, my
Father I " and then opened them again to see whether it was
all true. Shirley, sensitive for her to the slightest breath,
turned and drew the robes closer about her mother, and asked
whether she were perfectly warm and whether she wanted
another pillow under her head.
Graham did not intrude himself upon the family behind
him. He was absorbed in the two boys, who were entirely
willing to be monopolized. He told them all about the car,
and discoursed on the mysteries of the different makes with a
freedom that gave George the impression that he was himself
almost a man to be honored by such talk.
It was nearly seven o'clock when they reached Glenside
and the big stone barn came in sight, for they had travelled
slowly to make it easier for the invalid.
Elizabeth had sighted the car far down the road below the
curve; and, switching on every electric light in the place, she
fled down the ladder to the basement, dragging the willing
Jenkins after her. Here they waited with bated breath until
the family had gone inside, when they made their stealthy
way out the east end, across the little brook under the fence,
and down the road, to be picked up by the car according to
As the car came in sight of the barn a deep silence sud-
denly fell upon the little company. Even Doris felt it, and
ceased her prattle to look from one to another. "Whatzie
mattah ? " she asked Shirley shyly, putting out her hand to
132 THE ENCHANTED BARN
i?at Shirley's face in a way she had when sne was uneasy 01
troubled. " W hatzie mattah, Surly?"
But Shirley only squeezed her hand reassuringly, and
As they drew near, the young people noticed that the bars
of the fence in front of the barn had been taken down and
the ditch filled in smoothly. Then they saw that the car was
turning in and going straight up the grassy incline to the door.
Mrs. Hollister, lying comfortably among her cushions, was
looking at the evening sky, hearing a bird that reminded her
of long ago, and scarcely noticed they had turned until the
car stopped. Then in silent joy the children swarmed out of
the car, and with one consent stood back and watched mother,
as the strong young man came to the open door and gathered
her in his arms once more.
" Now we're almost home, Mrs. Hollister," he said pleas-
antly. " Just put your arms around my neck once more, and
we'll soon have you beside your own fire." He lifted her
and 6ore her in to the wide couch before the crackling fire
that Elizabeth had started just before she went to look out
the door the last time.
Then into the blazing light of the transformed barn they
all stepped, and every one stood back and stared, blinking.
Wliat was this? What wondrous perfume met their senses?
What luxury! What flowers! What hangings!
They stood and stared, and could not understand; and
between them they forgot to wonder what their mother was
thinking, or to do a thing but stupidly stare and say, " Why ! *
and " Oh ! and "Ah ! " half under their breath.
"Just phone me if you need anything, Miss Hollister.
please. I shall be glad to serve you," said Graham, steppii
THE ENCHANTED BARN 133
quickly over to the door. " Mrs. Hollister, I hope you'll be
none the worse for your ride " ; and he slipped out the door,
and was gone.
The sound of the car softly purring its way backward down
the slope brought Shirley out of her daze ; but, when she turned
and understood that he was gone, the car was just backing
into the road, turning with a quick whirl, and was away before
she could make him hear.
" Oh ! He is gone ! " she cried out, turning in dismay to
the children. " He is gone, and we never thanked him ! "
George was out down the road like a shot; and the rest,
forgetful for the moment of the invalid who had been the
great anxiety all day, crowded at the door to watch him. They
could hear the throbbing of the machine; they heard it stop
down the road and start again almost immediately, growing
fainter with every whir as it went farther from them. In a
moment more George came running back.
" He's gone. He meant to, I guess, so we could have it
all to ourselves right at first. Elizabeth and the man were
down the road waiting for him. They've been dolling the
plase up to surprise us."
" Oh ! " said Shirley, turning to look around, her cheeks
growing rosy. "Oh! Isn't it beautiful?" Then, turning
swiftly to the couch and kneeling, she said, " Oh mother!"
" What does it all mean, daughter? " asked the bewildered
mother, looking about on the great room that seemed a palace
to her sad eyes.
But they all began to clamor at once, and she could make
nothing of it.
" Oh Shirley, look at the curtains ! Aren't they perfectly
dear ? " cried Carol ecstatically.
134 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Perf 'ly deah ! " echoed Doris, dancing up and down
"And here's a card, < With love from Elizabeth ' ! Isn't it
fiweet of her? Isn't she a perfect darling?"
" Who is Elizabeth ? " asked Mrs. Hollister, rising to her
elbow and looking around.
"Gee! Look at the flowers!'* broke in George. "Itffl
like our store at Easter ! I say ! Those lilies are pretty keen,
aren't they, Shirl?"
"Wait'll you see the dining-room!" called Harley, who
was investigating with the help of his nose. " Some supper-
tahle! Come on quick; I'm starved. Hello! Hustle here
quick. Here's another sign-board ! "
They followed to the dining-room. Harley, still following
his nose, pursued his investigations to the kitchen, discovered
the source of the savory odors that were pervading the place,
and raised another cry so appreciative that the entire family,
with the exception of the invalid, followed him and found the
supper steaming hot and crying to he eaten.
After the excitement was somewhat quieted Shirley took
"Now, children, you're getting mother all excited, and
this won't do. And, besides, we must eat this supper right
away before it spoils. Quiet down, and bring the hot things
to the table while I get mother's things off. Then we will tell
her all about it. There's plenty of time, you know. We're
going to stay right here all summer."
"Aw, gee! Can't we bring mother out to the table ?"
pleaded George. "Harley and I could lift that couch just
"Why, I don't know," said Shirley, hesitating. "You
THE ENCHANTED BARN 135
know she is?*'* strong, and she will worry about your lifting
"Oh Shirley, let her come," pleaded Carol. "We could
all take hold and wheel the couch out here; you know the
floor is real smooth since those new boards were put in, and
there are good castors on the couch."
" Mother ! Mother ! You're coming out to supper ! " thej
chorused, rushing back to the living-room; and before the
invalid realized what was happening her couch was being
wheeled carefully, gleefully into the brilliantly lighted din-
ing-room, with Doris like a fairy sprite dancing attendance,
and shouting joyously :
" Mudder's tumin' to suppy ! Mudder's tumin' to suppy
The mother gazed in amazement at the royally spread
table, so smothered in flowers that she failed to recognize the
cracked old blue dishes.
" Children, I insist/' she raised her voice above the happy
din. " I insist on knowing immediately what all this means.
Where are we, and what is this ? A hotel ? And who was the
person who brought us here ? I cannot eat anything nor stay
here another minute until I know. People can't rent houses
like this for ten dollars a month anywhere, and I didn't
suppose we had come to charity, even if I am laid up for a
Shirley could see the hurt in her mother's eyes and the
quick alarm in her voice, and came around to her couch,
" Now, mother dear, we'll tell you the whole thing. It
isn't a hotel we're in, and it isn't a house at all. It's only
an old barn!"
<36 THE ENCHANTED BARN
"A barn ! " Mrs. Hollister sat up on her couch alertly,
and looked at the big bowl of roses in the middle of the table,
at the soft, flowing curtains at the window and the great pot
of Easter lilies on the little stand in front, and exclaimed,
" Impossible ! "
"But it is, really, mother, just a grand old stone barn!
Look at the walls. See. those two over there are just rough
stones, and this one back of you is a partition made of com-
mon boards. That's only an old brown denim curtain over
there to hide the kitchen, and we've got the old red chenille
curtains up to partition off the bedrooms. The boys are going
to sleep up in the hay-loft, and it's going to be just great \ ' J
Mrs. Hollister looked wildly at the stone walls, back at
the new partition, recognized one by one the ancient chairs,
the old bookcase now converted into a china-closet, the brown
denim curtain that had once been a cover for the dining-room
floor in the little brick house. Now it was washed and
mended, and was doing its faded part to look like a wall and
fit into the scheme of things. She darted questioning glances
at the wealth of flowers, and the abundantly set table, then
settled back on her pillow but half satisfied.
" They don't have curtains in a barn ! " she remarked
" Those are a present from Elizabeth, the little sister of
the landlord. She was out here with him when he came to
see about things, and she got acquainted with Carol. She
has put up those curtains, and brought the flowers, and fixed
the table, for a surprise. See, mother ! " and Shirley brought
the card on which Elizabeth had printed her crude welcome.
Mrs. Hollister took thf card as if it were some sort of a
fife-preserver, and smiled with relief.
THE ENCHANTED BARN IS*
"But this is a great deal to do for strangers," she said
tremblingly, and tears began to glitter in her eyes. " They
must be wealthy people."
" Yes, mother, I think they are," said Shirley, " and they
have been most kind."
f "But, daughter, wealthy people do not usually take the
trouble to do things like that for nothing. And ten dollars
A month for a barn could be nothing to them."
" I know, mother, but he seems very well satisfied with tha
price," said Shirley with a troubled brow. " I "
" Something's burning ! " yelled Harley at the top of his
lungs from the kitchen, and immediately they all rushed out
to rescue the supper, which took that moment to assert itself.
" Now, mother," said Shirley, coming in with a big tureen
of soupi " we've got to eat this supper or it will spoil. You're
not to ask another question till we are through."
They all settled expectantly down at the table, Dorii
climbing joyously into her high chair, calling:
" Suppy ! Suppy ! Oh goody ! "
Such a clatter and a clamor, such shoutings over the sand-
wiches and such jumpings up and down to carry something
to mother ! Such lingering over the delicious ice-cream and
fresh strawberries that were found in the freezer! Think
of it ! Real strawberries for them that time of year I
Then, when they had eaten all they could, and began tc
realize that it was time to get mother to bed, they pushed the
chairs back, and all fell to clearing off the table and putting
things away. It was Carol who discovered the big roasted
fowl and the bowl of salad set away in the tiny ice-box ready
for to-morrow. How had Elizabeth, who never kept house in
her life, known just what would be nice for a family
138 THE ENCHANTED BARN
were all tired out with moving, and needed to lie back and
rest before starting on with living?
The dishes were almost washed when the cart arrived with
the last load of things, and the drayman helped George to
put up mother's bed.
They wheeled the couch into the living-room after the big
doors were closed and safely fastened for the night. Before
the glowing fire Shirley helped mother to undress, then rolled
her couch into the bedroom and got her to bed.
" Do you mind very much that it is only a barn, mother
dear ? " questioned Shirley, bending anxiously over her mother
after she was settled.
" I can't make it seem like a barn, dear ; it seems a palace ! "
said the mother with a tremble in her voice. " I'm glad it's
a barn, because we could never afford a house with space like
this, and air ! " She threw out her hands as if to express her
delight in the wide rooms, and drew in a breath of the delicious
country air, so different from air of the dusty little brick
house in the city.
" Daughter ! " she drew Shirley down where she could
whisper to her. " You're sure he is not looking on us as
objects of charity, and you're sure he understands that you are
a self-respecting girl earning her honorable living and paying
her way ? You know this is a wicked, deceitful world we
live in, and there are all sorts of people in it/'
"Mother dear! I'm sure. Sure as anybody could be.
He has been a perfect gentleman. You didn't think he looked
like one of those those people that go around misunder-
standing girls, did you mother?"
The mother remembered the gentle, manly way in which
the young man had lifted her and carried her to and from
THE ENCHANTED BARN 139
the car, and her heart warmed to him. Yet her fears lingered
as she watched her sweet-eyed girl.
"No-o-o," she answered slowly; "but then, you can't
always judge. He certainly was a gentleman, and he was
very nice-looking." Then she looked sharply at Shirley.
" You won't go to getting any notions in your head, deal
'cnild?" Her eyes were wistful and sad as she searched the
sweet, weary face of the girl. "You know rich young men
follow whims sometimes for a few days. They don't mean
anything. I wouldn't want your heart broken. I wish he
was an old man with white hair."
" Oh mother dear ! " laughed Shirley with heart-free ring
to her voice, "did you think you had a young fool for a
daughter? He was only being nice because he is a perfect
gentleman; but I know he is not in the same universe as
I am, so far as anything more than pleasant kindliness is
concerned. We shall probably never see him again now that
we are settled. But don't you think I ought to go and
telephone thanks to his little sister? They will be home by
this time, and it seems as if we ought to make some acknowl-
edgment of her great kindness."
" By all means, dear ; but how can you ? Is there a pay-
station near here? I thought you said this was out in the
"Why, we have a telephone of our own, muddy dear!|
Just think of the luxury of it! Us with a telephone! Mr.
Graham had it put into the barn when he was making some
repairs, so he could communicate with his workmen ; and he
said if we would like it we might keep it. It is one of those
' pay-as-you-go ' phones, with a place to drop nickels and
dimes in; so we are perfectly independent. Mr. Graham
t40 THE ENCHANTED BARN
thought it would be a comfort to }'ou when George or I had
to stay late in town."
" How thoughtful of him ! He must be a wonderful rich
man! By all means telephone at once, and tell the little
girl to say to her brother from me that I shall esteem it a
privilege to thank him personally for all that he has done for
my children, sometime when he is out this way. Think. A 1
real rose by my bed ! " She reached out a frail hand, and
touched the exquisite petals lovingly. " It is wonderful ! "
So Shirley went into the living-room to telephone, while
all the children stood about to watch and comment and tell
her what to say. Doris sat on a little cushion at her feet in
awe, and listened, asking Carol with large eyes: a ls Sirley
tautin to Dod ? Vy doesn't see sut her yeyes ? " for Shirley's
conversation over the telephone sounded to the little sister
much like a prayer of thanksgiving; only she was not accus-
tomed to hearing that joyous laughter in the voice when
Then Doris was put to bed in her own little crib, and the
light in mother's room was switched off amid Doris's flood
"Vat makes it light? Vy did it do avay? Will it turn
At last she was asleep, and the other children tiptoed
excitedly about preparing for bed, going up and downstairs
softly, whispering back and forth for this or that they could
not find, till quiet settled down upon the tired, happy house-
hold, and the bullfrogs in the distant creek droned out the
IT was beautiful to wake the next morning with the birds
singing a matin in the trees, and a wonderful Sabbath quiet
over everything. Tired out as she was and worn with excite-
ment and care, Shirley was the first to waken, and she lay
there quiet beside Carol for a little while with her eyes
closed, listening, and saying a prayer of thanksgiving for the
peace of the place, and the wonder that it had come into her
life. Then suddenly a strange luminousness about her simply
forced her to open her eyes.
The eastern window was across the room from her bed, and
the sky was rosy, with the dawn, and flooding the room. It
was the first time in years she had watched the sun rise. She
had almost forgotten, in the little dark city house, that there
was a sun to rise and make things glorious. The sun had
seemed an enemy to burn and wilt and stifle.
But now here was a friend, a radiant new friend, to be
waited for and enjoyed, to give glory to all their lives. She
raised herself on one elbow and watched until the red ball
had risen and burst into the brightness of day. Then she lay
down softly again and listened to the birds. They seemed to
be mad with joy over the new day. Presently the chorus
grew less and less. The birds had gone about their morning
tasks, and only a single bright song now and then from some
soloist in the big tree overhead marked the sweet-scented
silence of the morning.
In the quiet Shirley lay and went over events since she
had first seen this spot and taken the idea of living in the
142 THE ENCHANTED BARN
barn. Her heart gave thanks anew that her mother had not
disliked it as sne had feared. There was no sense that it was
a stable, no odor of living creatures having occupied it before,
only sweet dusty clover like a lingering of past things put
away carefully. It was like a great camping expedition. And
then all those flowers ! The scent of the lilies was on the air.
How lovely of the young girl out of her luxury to think to
pass on some of the sweet things of life ! And the gracious,
chivalrous man, her brother! She must not let him think
she would presume upon his kindness. She must not let even
her thoughts cross the line and dwell on the ground of social
equality. She knew where he belonged, and there he should
stay for all her. She was heart-free and happy, and only too
glad tc have such a kind landlord.
She drifted off to sleep again, and it was late when she
awoke the next time. A silvery bell from the little white
church in the valley was ringing and echoing distantly. Sab-
bath, real Sabbath, seemed brooding happily in the very air.
Shirley got up and dressed hastily. She felt as if she had
already lost too much of this first wonderful day in the
A thrush was spilling his liquid notes in the tree overhead
when she tiptoed softly into her mother's room. Doris opened
her eyes and looked in wonder, then whispered softly:
"Vat is dat, Sirley? Vat is dat pitty sound?"
"A birdie in the tree, dearie ! " whispered Shirley.
"A weel budie! I yantta see it ! Take Doris up, Sirley ! "
So Shirley lifted the little maiden, wrapped a shawl about
her, and carried her softly to the window, where she looked
Up in wonder and joy.
Thf bovs came tumbling down from their loft in a few
THE ENCHANTED BARN 143
minutes, and there was no more sleep to be had. Carol was
up and out, and the voice of one or the other of them waa
continually raised in a shout of triumph over some new
" I saw a fish in the brook ! " shouted Harley under his
mother's window. " It was only a little fellow, but maybe if 11
grow bigger some day, and then we can fish ! "
" You silly ! " cried George. " It was a minnow. Min-
nows don't grow to be big. They're only good for bait!"
" Hush, George, there's a nest in the big tree. I've been
watching and the mother bird is sitting on it. That was the
father bird singing a while ago." This from Carol.
George, Harley, and Carol declared their intention of
going to church. That had likely been the first bell that
rang, their mother told them, and they would have plenty
of time to get there if they hurried. It was only half-past
nine. Country churches rang a bell then, and another at ten,
and the final bell at half -past ten, probably. Possibly they
had Sunday-school at ten. Anyhow, they could go and find
out. It wouldn't matter if they were a little late the first
So they ate some breakfast in a hurry, took each a sand-
wich left from the night before, crossed the road, climbed the
fence, and went joyously over the green fields to church,
thinking how much nicer it was than walking down a brick-
paved street, past the same old grimy houses to a dim, arti-
ficially lighted church.
Shirley took a survey of the larder, decided that roast
chicken, potato croquettes, and peas would all warm up
quickly, and, as there was plenty of ice cream left and some
cakes, they would fare royally without any work; so she sat
144 THE ENCHANTED BARN
beside her mother and told the whole story of her ride, the
finding of the barn, her visit to the Graham office, and all that
transpired until the present time.
The mother listened, watching her child, but said no wore
of her inner thoughts. If it occurred to her that her oldest
daughter was fair to look upon, and that her winning ways,
sweet, unspoiled face, and wistful eyes had somewhat to do
with the price of their summer's abode, it would be no wonder.
But she did not mean to trouble her child further. She would
investigate for herself when opportunity offered. So she
quieted all anxieties Shirley might have had about her sanc-
tion of their selection of a home, kissed Shirley, and told her
she felt it in her bones she was going to get well right away.
And, indeed, there was much in the fact of the lifting of
the burden of anjdety concerning where they should live that
went to brighten the eyes of the invalid and strengthen her
When the children came home from church Shirley was
putting dinner on the table, and her mother was arrayed in a
pretty kimono, a relic of their better days, and ready to be
helped to +he couch and wheeled out to the dining-room. It
had been pleasant to see the children coming across the green
meadow in the distance, and get things all ready for them
when they rushed in hungry. Shirley was so happy she felt
After the dinner things were washed they shoved the couch
into the living-room among the flowers, where George had
built up a beautiful fire, for it was still chilly. The children
gathered around their mother and talked, making plans for
the summer, telling about the service they had attended,
chattering like so many magpies. The mother lay and watched
THE ENCHANTED BARN 145
them and was content. Sometimes her eyes would search the
dim, mellow rafters overhead, and glance along the stone
walls, and she would say to herself : " This is a barn ! I am
living in a barn ! My husband's children have come to this,
that they have no place to live but a barn ! " She was testing
herself to see if the thought hurt her. But, looking on their
hftppy faces, somehow she could not feel sad.
" Children/' she said suddenly in one of the little lulls of
conversation, " do you realize that Christ was born in a stable ?
It isn't so bad to live in a barn. We ought to be very thankful
for this great splendid one ! "
" Oh mother, dear ! It is so beautiful of you to take it
that way ! " cried Shirley with tears in her eyes.
" Doris, you sing your little song about Jesus in the stable,"
said Carol. "HI play it for you."
Doris, nothing loath, got a little stool, stood up beside her
mother's couch, folded her small hands demurely, and began
to sing without waiting for accompaniment:
"Away in a manger,
No trib for His head,
The litta Lord Jesus
Lay down His sveet head.
The tars in the haaven
Look down vhere 'e lay
The litta Lord Jesus
As'eep in the hay.
"The catta are lowing,
The poor baby wates;
But the litta Lord Jesus
No cwyin' He mates.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus;
Look down fum the sky,
An* stay by my trib,
Watching my lul-la-by!
146 THE ENCHANTED BARN
Shirley kissed Doris, and then they began to sing other
things, all standing around the piano. By and by that distant
bell from the valley called again.
" There's a vesper service at five o'clock. Why don't you
go, Shirley ? You and George and Harley," said Carol.
" Me 'ant do too ! " declared Doris earnestly, and it was
finally decided that the walk would not be too long; so the
boys, Shirley and the baby started off across the fields, while
Carol stayed with her mother. And this time Mrs. Hollister
heard all about Elizabeth and how she wanted Carol to come
and see her sometime. Heard, too, about the proposed dance,
and its quiet squelching by the brother. Heard, and looked
thoughtful, and wondered more.
" Mother is afraid they are not quite our kind of people,
dear ! " she said gently. " You mustn't get your heart bound
up in that girl. She may be very nice, but she's a society
girl, and you are not, you know. It stands to reason she will
have other interests pretty soon, and then you will be dis-
appointed when she forgets all about you."
" She won't forget, mother, I know she won't ! " declared
Carol stoutly. " She's not that kind. She loves me ; she told
me so. She wanted to put one of her rings on my finger to
' bind our friendship,' only I wouldn't let her till I had asked
you, because I didn't have any but grandmother's to give her,
and I couldn't give her that."
" That was right, dear. You can't begin things like that.
You would find a great many of them, and we haven't the
money to keep up with a little girl who has been used to
Carol's face went down. Tears began to come in her eyes.
* Can't we have even friends?" she said, turning her face
THE ENCHANTED BARN 147
away to hide the quiver in her lip, and the tears that were
rolling down her cheeks.
"Yes, dear/' said the mother sorrowfully, "but don't
choose them from among another people. People who can't
possibly have much in common with us. It is sure to hurt
hard when there are differences in station like that."
" But I didn't choose them. They chose us ! " declared
Carol. " Elizabeth just went wild over us the first time she
saw us, and her brother told Shirley he was glad, that it
would do Elizabeth a lot of good to know us. He said,
'We've learned a lot of things from you already'; just like
that, he said it! I was coming down the stairs behind them
when they stood here talking one day, and I couldn't help
"Yes?" said Mrs. Hollister thoughtfully. "Well, per-
haps, but, dear, go slow and don't pin your heart to a friend-
ship like that, for it will most likely be disappointing. Just
be happy in what she has done for us already, and don't
expect anything more. She may never come again. It may
just have been a passing whim. And I don't want you to
be always looking for her and always disappointed."
"I shall not be disappointed, mamma," said Carol de-
cidedly. " You'll see ! " and her face brightened.
Then as if to make good her words a big car came whirring
up the road and stopped in front of the barn, and almost
before she could get to the window to look out Carol heard
Elizabeth's voice calling softly:
"Carol! Car-roZZ/ Are you there?" and she flung the
door open and rushed into her new friend's arms.
Graham came more slowly up the incline, smiling apolo-
getically and hoping he didn't intrude, coming so soon.
148 THE ENCHANTED BARN
Carol led them over to the invalid and introduced he*
friend, and the young man came after them.
" I'm afraid this is rather soon to obey your summons,
Mrs. Hollister," he said engagingly, " but Elizabeth couldn't
stand it without coming over to see if you really found the
ice-cream freezer, so I thought we'd just drop in for a minute
and see whether you were quite comfortable."
Somehow, suddenly, Mrs. Hollister's fears and conclusions
concerning these two young people began to vanish, and in
spite of her she felt just as Shirley had done, that they were
genuine in their kindliness and friendship. Carol, watching
her, was satisfied, and a glow of triumph shone in her eyes.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Hollister gathered her caution about her
as a garment, and in dignified and pleasant phrases thanked
the two in such a way that they must see that neither she
nor her children would ever presume upon what had been
done for them, nor take it for more than a passing kindliness.
But to her surprise the } r oung man did not seem to be more
than half listening to her words. He seemed to be studying
her face with deep intention that was almost embarrassing.
The soft color stole into her thin cheeks, and she stopped
speaking and looked at him in dismay.
" I beg your pardon," he said, seeing her bewilderment,
"but you can't understand perhaps how interested I am in
you. I am afraid I have been guilty of staring. You see it is
simply amazing to me to find a woman of your refinement and
evident culture and education who is content I might even
say joyful to live in a barn! I don't know another woman
who would be satisfied. And you seem to have brought up
all your children with just such happy, adaptable natures,
that it is a great puzzle to me. I I why, I feel sort of
THE ENCHANTED BARN 149
rebuked! I feel that you and your children are among the
great of the earth. Don't thank Elizabeth and me for the
little we have been able to do toward making this barn
habitable. It was a sort of I might say homage, due to you,
that we were rendering. And now please don't think any-
thing more about it. Let's just talk as if we were friends
that is, if you are willing to accept a couple of humble
strangers among your list of friends."
" Why, surely, if you put it that way ! " smiled the little
woman. "Although I'm sure I don't know what else we
could do but be glad and happy over it that we had a barn
like this to come to under a sweet blue sky, with a bird and
a tree thrown in, when we literally didn't know where we
could afford co lay our heads. You know beggars shouldn't
be choosers, but I'm sure one would choose a spacious place
like this any day in preference to most of the ordinary city
houses, with their tiny dark rooms, and small breathless
" Even if 'twas called a barn? "
" Even if 'twas called a barn ! " said the woman with a
flitting dance in her eyes that reminded him of the girl
"Well, I'm learning a lot, I tell you!" said the young
man. " The more I see of you all, the more I learn. If s
opened my eyes to a number of things in my life that I'm
going to set right. By the way, is Miss Hollister here? I
brought over a book I was telling her about the other day. I
thought she might like to see it."
" She went over to the vesper service at the little church
across the fields. They'll be coming home soon, I think. It
must be nearly over."
150 THE ENCHANTED BARN
He looked at his watch.
" Suppose I take the car and bring them back. You staj
here, Elizabeth. I'll soon be back. I think I can catch them
around by the road if I put on speed."
He was off, and the mother lay on the couch watching the
two girls and wishing with all her heart that it were so that
her children might have these two fine young people for
friends. But of course such things could not very well be
in this world of stern realities and multitudinous conven-
tionalities. What, for instance, would be said in the social
set to which the Grahams belonged if it were known that some
of their intimate friends lived in a barn? No, such things
did not happen even in books, and the mother lay still and
sighed. She heard the chatter of the two girls.
" You're coming home with me to stay over Sunday pretty
soon. Sidney said he would fix it all up with your mother
pretty soon. We'll sleep together and have the grandest
times. Mother likes me to have friends stay with me, but
most of the girls I know are off at boarding-school now, and
I'm dreadfully lonesome. We have tennis-courts and golf
links and a bowling-alley. Do you play tennis ? And we can
go out in the car whenever we like. It's going to be grand.
Ill show you my dog and my poiiy I used to ride. He's
getting old now, and I'm too big for him, but I love him just
the same. I have a saddle-horse, but I don't ride much. I'd
rather go motoring with Sid "
And so she rattled on, and the mother sighed for her little
girl who was being tempted by a new and beautiful world, and
had not the wherewithal to enter it, even if it were possible
for her to do so.
Out in the sunset the car was speeding back again with
THE ENCHANTED BARN 151
the seats full, Doris chirping gleefully at the ride, for her
fat legs had grown very weary with the long walk through
the meadow and Shirley had been almost sorry she had taken
The hoys were shouting all sorts of questions about dogs
and chickens and cars and a garden, and Graham was answer-
ing them all good-humoredly, now and then turning around
to throw back a pleasant sentence and a smile at the quiet
girl with the happy eyes sitting in the back seat with her
arm around her little sister.
There WP,S nothing notable about the ride to remember. It
was just one of those beautiful bits of pleasantness that fit into
the mosaic of any growing friendship, a bit of color without
which the whole is not perfect. Shirley's part in it was
small. She said little and sat listening happily to the boys'
conversation with Graham. She had settled it with her heart
that morning that she and the young man on that front seat
had nothing in future to do with each other, but it was pleas-
ant to see him sitting there talking with her brothers. There
was no reason why she should not be glad for that, and glad
he was not a snob. For every time she looked on his clean,
frank face, and saw his nice gray eyes upon her, she was
surer that he was not a snob.
The guests stayed a little while after they all got back,
and accepted quite as a matter of course the dainty little
lunch that Carol and Elizabeth, slipping away unobserved,
prepared and brought in on trays, some of the salad left
from dinner, some round rolls that Shirley had brought out
with her Saturday, cut in two and crisply toasted, cups of
delicious cocoa, and little cakes. That was all, but it tasted
fine, and the two self-invited guests enjoyed it hugely. Then
152 THE ENCHANTED BARN
they all ranged themselves around the piano and sang bymns,
and it is safe to say that the guests at least had not spent as
"Sabbathy" a Sabbath in all their lives. Elizabeth was
quite astonished when she suggested that they sing a popular
song to have Carol answer in a polite but gently reproving
tone, " Oh, not to-day, you know."
"Why not? Doesn't your mother like it?" whispered
"Why, we don't any of us usually sing things like that
on Sunday, you know. It doesn't seem like Sunday. It
doesn't seem quite respectful to God." Carol was terribly
embarrassed and was struggling to make her idea plain.
" Oh ! " Elizabeth said, and stood looking wistfully, won-
deringly at her friend, and finally stole out a soft hand and
slipped it into Carol's, pressing her fingers as if to make her
ki,ow she understood. Then they lifted up their voices again
ovsr the same hymn-book:
" Thine earthly Sabbaths, Lord, we love,
But there's a nobler rest above ;
To that our longing souls aspire
With cheerful hope and strong desire."
Graham looked about on the group as they sang, his own
fine tenor joining in the words, his eyes lingering on the
earnest face of his little sister as she stood arm in arm with
the other girl, and was suddenly thrilled with the thought of
what a Sabbath might be, kept in this way. It had never
appealed to him quite like that before. Sabbath-keeping had
seemed a dry, thankless task for a few fanatics; now a new
possibility loomed vaguely in his mind. He could see that
people like this could really make the Sabbath something to
THE ENCHANTED BARN 153
love, not just a day to loll through and pass the time away.
When they finally went away there was just a streak of
dull red left in the western horizon where the day had dis-
appeared, and all the air was seething with sweet night
sounds and odors, the dampness of the swamps striking coolly
in their faces as the car sped along.
" Sidney/' said Elizabeth after a long time, " did you ever
feel as if God were real ? "
" Why, how do you mean, kid ? " asked the brother, rather
embarrassed. These subjects were not discussed at all in the
"Did you ever feel as if there really was a God some-
where, like a person, that could see and hear you and know
what you did and how you felt to Him? Because they do.
Carol said they didn't sing ' Tipperary ' on Sunday because
it didn't seem quite respectful to God, and I could see she
really meant it. It wasn't just because her mother said she
had to or anything like that. She thought so herself/'
" H'm ! " said Graham thoughtfully. " Well, they're rather
remarkable people, I think."
"Well, I think so too, and I think it's about time you
fixed it up with mamma to let Carol come and visit me."
"I'm going to get mothei to go out there and call this
week if I can," said Graham after another longer pause, and
then added: "I think she will go and I think she will like
them. After that we'll see, kid. Don't you worry. They're
nice, all right." He was thinking of the look on Shirley's
face as she sat at the piano playing for them all to sing.
THE first few days in the new home were filled with
wonder and delight for them all. They just could not get
used to having plenty of room indoors, with all outdoors for
a playground. Doris's cheeks took on a lovely pink, and her
eyes began to sparkle. She and Harley spent all day out-of-
doors. They were making a garden. Not that they had any
experience or any utensils. There was an old hoe and a broken
spade down in the basement of the barn, and with these
Harley managed to remove a few square feet of young turf,
and mellow up an inch or two of soil depth. In this they
planted violet roots and buttercups and daisies which they
found in the meadows. Doris had a corner all her own, with
neat rows of tiny stones from the brook laid in elaborate
baby-patterns around the edge, and in this she stuck twigs
and weeds of all descriptions, and was never daunted, only
pained and surprised when they drooped and died in a day or
two and had to be supplanted by others.
It had been decided that Harley was to stop school and
stay at home with mother and Doris, which indeed he was
quite willing to do under the glamour of the new life. The
school itself never had much attraction for him, and "the
fellows" were almost forgotten in searching for angleworms
and building dams in the creek.
Carol went to high school every morning with Shirley
and George on the trolley. There were only six more weeks
till the term was over, and it was better for Carol to finish
out her year and get her credits. Shirley thought they could
afford the extra carfare for just that little while, and so all
THE ENCHANTED BARN 155
day long mother and Doris and Harley kept quiet home in
the old barn, and the meadows rang with Doris's shouts and
One day the doctor came out in his machine to see Mrs.
Hollister as he had promised to do, and found her so much
Ibetter that he told her she might get up and go .around a
little while every day if she was very careful not to get over-
tired. He prophesied a speedy return to health if she kept on
looking happy and breathing this good air. He praised the
good sense that brought her out into the country to live, in
preference to any little tucked-up house in town, and said if
she could only get well enough to work outdoors in the ground
and have a flower-bed it would be the making of her. Her
eyes brightened at that, for she loved flowers, and in the days
of her youth had been extremely successful at making things
The doctor was deeply interest in the barn. He walked
about with his hands in his pockets, looking the rooms over,
as delighted as a child at seeing a new mechanical toy.
" Well, now this is great ! " he said heartily. " This is
simply great! I admire you people for having the nerve to
go against conventionality and come out here. If I had a
few more patients who could be persuaded to go out into the
country and take some of the unused old barns and fix them
up to live in, I'd have to change my occupation. It's a great
idea, and I mean to recommend it to others if you don't mind.
Only I doubt if I find two others who have the nerve to
follow your example/'
The invalid laughed.
"Why, doctor, I can't see the nerve. We really hadn't
any choice. We couldn't find a decent place that we could
156 THE ENCHANTED BARN
afford, and this was big and healthful and cost less than thd
worst little tenement that would have done in town. Any-
one would be a fool not to have come here."
" Mrs. Hollister, do you know that most people would
rather starve and swelter, yes and die in a conventional
house, than to do such an unheard-of thing as to live in a
barn, no matter how delightful that barn might be ? You are
a great little woman, Mrs. Hollister, and you deserve to get
well, and to see your children prosper. And they will. They
have the right spirit. 5 '
After his visit Mrs. Hollister began to get up a little
while every day, and her improvement in health was rapid.
She even ventured out to see Doris's garden and watch the
"budie" in his nest in the tree.
One day a drayman stopped at the place and left several
great rolls of chicken-wire, and a couple of big crates. One
crate was bigger than the other and contained half a dozen
big yellow hens and a beautiful rooster. The small crate
held two lovely white rabbits.
The children hovered joyfully over the crates.
" Mine wabbits ! " declared Doris solemnly. " Nice Mistah
Dwaham give Doris wabbits."
"Did Mr. Graham say he was going to send you some
rabbits ? " questioned her mother.
" 'Es. He did say he was goin' to sen' me some wabbits.
On 'e way fum chutch in big oughtymobeel. He did say he
would give me wabbits. Oh, mine wabbits ! " Doris was in
;Mrs. Hollister looked at the big rolls of wire questioningly;
" George and I told him we wanted some chickens. I gnesa
that's why he sent 'em," announced Harley excitedly.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 157
" I hope you boys didn't hint. That's very bad manners.
You know I can't have Mr. Graham giving you such expensive
presents; it won't do, dear."
" No, mother, we didn't hint. George just asked him if
he minded if we kept chickens here, and he said no, indeed,
he'd like to go into the business himself. He said he used to
have a lot of his own when he was a boy, and he guessed there
was a lot of wire from the old chicken-run around at his place
yet. If there was, there wasn't any reason why it shouldn't
be in use, and he'd look it up. He said, if it was, he and we'd
go into business. He'd furnish the tools and we could do the
work, and maybe some day we could sell eggs and make it pay."
" That's very kind of him, I'm sure. But, Harley, that
looks like new wire. It isn't the least bit rusted."
" It's galvanized, mother. Galvanized wire doesn't rust,
don't you know that ? " said Harley in a superior, man's voice.
Harley and Doris were wild over their pets, and could do
nothing all that day but hover about them, and the minute
George arrived the boys went out to see about putting up
some of the wire and making a temporary abode for the
creatures until they could get time to plan an elaborate
Before dark Graham arrived. He had brought a book on
chicken-raising and had a good many suggestions to offer.
With him in the fror x seat of the car rode a great golden-
brown dog with a white-starred face, great affectionate eyes,
and a plumy white tail. He bounded floppily out after
Graham and came affably up to the door as if he understood
everything ; and at sight of him the children went wild.
" I brought this fellow along, thinking perhaps you'd like
him to help look after things here. He's only a puppy, but
158 THE ENCHANTED BARN
he's a good breed, and I think you'll find him a splendid
watch-dog. You don't need to keep him, of course, if you
don't want him, Mrs. Hollister, but I thought out in the
country this way it might be as well for you to have him on
guard, at night especially. He'll be good company for the
children. We've got BO many of them that we want to give
this one away/'
And what was there to do but accept hm t with thanks, a
dog like that begging for a home, and a ha /no like that really
needing a dog?
So the dog was promptly accepted as a member of the
family, was named Star, and accepted the overtures of his
devoted worshippers in many amiable waggings of tail and a
wide puppy laugh on his face. He stayed behind most con^
tentedly when Graham departed after a long conference
with George and Harley over the " chicken " book, and a long
discussion in the back yard as to the best place for the chicken-
run. He seemed to know from the start that he had come tc
stay, that this was his " job " and he was on it for life.
It must be admitted that Mrs. Hollister went to sleep thas
night with more content, knowing that big, floppy, deep-
voiced dog was lying across the door out in the living-room.
The hillside had seemed a bit lonely at night, though she had
never admitted it even to herself before, and she was glad the
iog had come. That night in the little prayer that she said
3very night with all her children gathered about her couch in
front of the fire, she added, " We thank Thee, oh, Lord, for
sending us such good kind friends to make the world so much
happier for us."
A few days later Mrs. Graham came to call.
Her son did not explain to her anything about the Hoi-
THE ENCHANTED BARN 159
listers, nor say a word about the place where they were living.
He merely remarked casually : " Mother, there are some people
I'd like you to call on if you don't mind. They live out
Glenside way, and I'll take you any afternoon you have
" I really haven't much time now before we go to the
shore, Sidney," she said. " Couldn't they wait till the fall
when we return ? "
" No, mother, I'd like you to call now. It needn't take
you long, and I think you'll like them her Mrs. Hollister,
I mean. Can't you go this afternoon ? I'll call for you with
the car anywhere you say, along about half-past four or five
o'clock. It will be a pleasant little drive and rest you."
" Shall I have to be much dressed ? " asked the mother
thoughtfully, "because I shouldn't have time for an elab-
orate toilet. I have to go to Madame's for a fitting, meet
with the Red Cross committee, drop in at the hospital for a
few minutes, and see Mrs. Sheppard and Mrs. Follette about
our Alumni Anniversary banquet."
"Just wear something simple, mother. They are not
society people. It's you I want to show them, not your
" You ridiculous boy ! You're as unsophisticated as your
father. Well, I'll be ready at half-past four. You may call
for me then at the Century Building."
Elizabeth had been loyal to her brother's commands and
nad said nothing about her new-found friend, awaiting his
permission. Graham earnestly discussed the pros and cons
of woman's suffrage with his mother during the drive out,
BO that she was utterly unprejudiced by any former ideas
concerning the Hollisters, which ^as exactly what her son
160 THE ENCHANTED BARN
desired her to be. He knew that his mother was a woman of
the world, and hedged about by conventions of all sorts, but
he also knew her to be fair in her judgments when once she
saw a thing right, and a keen reader of character. He wanted
her to see the Hollisters without the least bit of a chance to
judge them beforehand.
So when the car drew up in front of the old barn Mrs.
Graham was quite unprepared to have her son get out and
open the car door and say, "Mother, this is the place: may
I help you out ? " She had been talking earnestly, and had
thought he was getting out to look after something wrong
about the car. Now she looked up startled.
"Why, Sidney! Why, you must have made a mistake!
This isn't a house ; it is a barn ! "
" This is the place, mother. Just come right up this
Mrs. Graham picked her way over the short green turf up
to the door and stood astonished while her son knocked. What
in the world did he mean? Was this one of his jokes? Had he
brought her out to see a new riding-horse ? That must be it,
of course. He was always taking a fancy to a horse or a dog.
She really hadn't the time to spare for nonsense this after-
noon, but one must humor one's son once in a while. She
stepped back absent-mindedly, her eyes resting on the soft
greens and purples of the foliage across the meadows, her
thoughts on the next paper she intended to write for the club.
This incident would soon be over, and then she might pursue
the even tenor of her busy way.
Then the door slid back and she became aware of some-
thing unusual in the tenseness of the moment. Looking up
quickly she saw a beautiful girl of about Elizabeth's age,
THE ENCHANTED BARN 161
with a wealth of dark wavy hair, lovely dark eyes, and vivid
coloring, and by her side one of the loveliest golden-haired,
blue-eyed babies she had ever seen in her life. In the wonder
of the moment she forgot that the outside of the building
had been a barn, for the curtain had risen on a new setting,
and here on the very threshold there opened before her
amazed eyes a charming, homelike room.
At first she did not take in any of the details of furnish-
ings. Everything was tastefully arranged, and the dull tones
of wall and floor and ceiling in the late afternoon light mel-
lowed the old furniture into its background so perfectly that
the imperfections and make-shifts did not appear. It was
just a place of comfort and beauty, eyen though the details
might show shabby poverty.
But her son was speaking.
" Mother, this is Miss Carol Hollister, and this little girl
is her sister Doris "
Doris put out a fat hand and gravely laid it in the lady's
kid glove, saying carefully, with shy lashes drooped sideways,
and blue eyes furtively searching the stranger's face,
"How oo do?"
Then as if she had performed her duty, she turned on her
smiles and dimples with a flash, and grasping Graham's hand
" Now, Mistah Dwa'm, oo turn out an' see my wabbits ! "
It was evident to the mother that her son had been here
before. She looked at him for an explanation, but he only
eaid to Carol,
" Is your mother able to see callers for a few minutes ? "
" Oh, yes," said Carol with a glad little ring in her voice.
" Mother is up in a chair this afternoon. See ! The doctor
162 THE ENCHANTED BARN
says she may get up now, she is so much better ! " and she
turned and flung out her arm toward the big easy chair where
her mother sat.
Mrs. Hollister arose and came forward to meet them.
She was dressed in a plain little gown of cheap gray
challis, much washed and mended, but looking somehow very
nice; and Carol had just finished fastening one of Shirley's
sheer white fluffy collars around her neck, with a bit of a
pink ribbon looped in a pretty knot. Her hair was tastefully
arranged, and she looked every inch a lady as she stood to
receive her unexpected guests. Graham had never seen her
in any but invalid's garb before, and he stood amazed for a
moment at the likeness between her and Shirley. He intro-
duced his mother with a few words, and then yielded to
Doris's eager, pulling hand and went out to see the bunnies.
The situation was a trifle trying for both ladies, but to the
woman of the world perhaps the more embarrassing. She
hadn't a clew as to who this was she had been brought to see.
She was entirely used to dominating any situation, but for a
moment she was almost confused.
Mrs. Hollister, however, tactfully relieved the situation,
with a gentle, " Won't you sit here by the fire ? It is getting
a little cool this evening, don't you think ? " and put her at
once at her ease. Only her family would have guessed from
the soft pink spots in her cheeks that she was at all excited
over her grand guest. She took the initiative at once, leading
the talk into natural channels, about the spring and its won-
derful unfolding in the country, exhibited a vase with jack-
in-the-pulpits, and a glass bowl of hepaticas blushing blue and
pink, told of the thrush that had built a nest in the elm
over the door, and pointed out the view over the valley wher*
THE ENCHANTED BARN 163
the sinking sun was flashing crimson from the weather-vane
on the little white spire of the church. She said how much
they had enjoyed the sunsets since coming out here to live,
taking it for granted that her visitor knew all about their
circumstances, and making no apologies or comments; and
the visitor, being what her son called " a good sport," showed
no hint that she had never heard of the Hollisters before, but
smiled and said the right thing at the right moment. And
somehow, neither knew just how, they got to the subject of
Browning and Ibsen, and from there to woman's suffrage,
and when Graham returned with Carol and Harley, Doris
chattering beside him and the dog bounding in ahead, they
were deep in future politics. Graham sat and listened for
a while, interested to note that the quiet little woman who
had spent the last few years of her life working in a narrow
dark city kitchen could talk as thoughtfully and sensibly as
his cultured, versatile mother.
The next trolley brought Shirley and George, and again
the mother was amazed to find how altogether free and easy
seemed to be the relation between all these young people.
She gave a keen look at Shirley, and then another at her
son, but saw nothing which gave her uneasiness. The girl
was unconscious as a rose, and sweet and gracious to the
stranger guests as if she had been in society all her life. She
slipped away at once to remove her hat, and when she came
back her hair was brushed, and she looked as fresh as a flower
in her clean white ruffled blouse. The older woman could not
take her eyes frum her face. What a charming girl to be set
among all this shabbiness ! For by this time her discriminat-
ing eyes had discovered that everything literally everything
was shabby. Who were these people, and how did they hap-
164 THE ENCHANTED BARN
pen to get put here? The baby was ravishingly beautiful,
the girls were charming, and the boys looked like splendid,
manly fellows. The mother was a product of culture and
refinement. Not one word or action had shown that she
knew her surroundings were shabby. She might have been
mistress of a palace for aught she showed of consciousness of
the pitiful poverty about her. It was as if she were just
dropped down for the day in a stray barn and making a
palace out of it while she stayed.
Unconsciously the woman of the world lingered longer
than was her wont in making calls. She liked the atmosphere,
and was strangely interested by them all.
" I wish you would come and see me/' she said cordially
as she rose at last to go, and she said it as if she meant it,
as if she lived right around the corner and not twenty-two
miles away, as if she really wanted her to come, and not as
if this other woman lived in a barn at all.
" Good old sport ! " commented her son in his heart as he
listened. He had known she must see their worth, and yet he
had been strangely afraid.
Mrs. Hollister received the invitation with a flush of
" Thank you," she answered graciously, " I'm afraid not.
I seldom go anywhere any more. But I've been very glad to
have had this call from you. It will be a pleasure to think
about. Come sometime again when you are out this way.
Your son has been most kind. I cannot find words to express
" Has he ? " and his mother looked questioningly at her
son. " Well, I'm very glad "
"Yes, and Elizabeth! She is a dear sweet girl, and we
all love her!"
THE ENCHANTED BARN 165
"Oh, has Elizabeth been here too? Well, I'm glad. I
hope she has not been a nuisance. She's such an impulsive,
erratic child. Elizabeth is quite a problem just now. She's
out of school on account of her eyes, and her girl friends,
most of them, being away at school, she is perfectly forlorn.
I am delighted to have her with your children. I am sure
they are charming associates for her." And her eyes rested
approvingly on the sparkling Carol in her simple school dress
of brown linen with its white collar and cuffs. There was
nothing countrified about Carol. She looked dainty in the
commonest raiment, and she smiled radiantly at Elizabeth's
mother and won her heart.
"Would you let Elizabeth stay overnight with us here
sometime?" she asked shyly.
" Why, surely ! I presume she would be delighted. She
does about as she pleases these days. I really don't see very
much of her, I'm so busy this time of year, just at the end of
the season, you know, and lots of committee meetings and teas
They stopped at the doorway to look up into the big tree,
in response to the earnest solicitations of Doris, who pulled
at the lady's gloved hand insistently^ murmuring sweetly:
" Budie ! Budie ! See mine budie in the twee ! "
The Hollisters stood grouped at the doorway when at last
the visitors got into their car and went away. Mrs. Graham
looked back at them wistfully.
" What a lovely group they make ! " she murmured. " Now,
Sidney, tell me at once who they are and why they live in a
barn, and why you brought me out here. I know you had
some special object. I knew the minute I saw that charming
166 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Mother, you certainly are great ! I thought you'd have
the good sense to see what they are/'
" Why, I haven't spent a more delightful hour in a long
time than I spent talking with her. She has very original
ideas, and she expresses herself well. As for the children,
they are lovely. That oldest girl has a great deal of char-
acter in her face. But what are they doing in a barn,
Sidney, and how did you come to know them ? "
And so, as they speeded out the smooth turnpike to their
lovely home Sidney Graham told his mother as much of the
story of Shirley Hollister and the old barn as he thought she
would care to know, and his mother sat thoughtfully
watching his handsome, enthusiastic face while he talked, and
One comment she made as they swept up the beautiful
drive to their luxurious country home:
" Sidney dear, they are delightful and all that, and I'm
sure I'm glad to have that little girl come to see Elizabeth,
but if I were you I wouldn't go out there too often when
that handsome oldest girl is at home. She's not exactly in
your set, you know, charming as she is, and you wouldn't
want to give her any ideas. A gentleman looks out for
things like that, you know."
" What has being in our set got to do with it, mother dear ?
Do you know any girl in our set that is better-looking or has
nicer manners, or a finer appreciation of nature and books?
You ought to hear her talk ! "
"Yes, but, Sidney, that isn't everything! She isn't
"Mother, were you and father, when you used to have
good times together? Now, mother, you know you are just
THE ENCHANTED BARN 167
talking twaddle when you let that idea about ' our set ' rule
your mind. Be a good sport, mother dear, and look the facts
in the face. That girl is as good as any other girl I know,
and you know it. She's better than most. Please admit the
facts. Yet you never warned me to be careful about calling
on any of the girls in our set. Do please be consistent. How-
ever, don't worry about me. I've no idea at present of paying
any special attention to anybody," and he swung the car door
pen and jumped down to help her out.
bb-ow *>d libwia w
A MAN arrived one morning with a horse and a plough and
several other implements of farm life of which Harley didn't
know the name, and announced that Mr. Graham had sent
him to plough the garden. Would Mrs. Hollister please tell
him where she wanted the ground broken, and how much?
He volunteered the information that he was her next neigh-
bor, and that if he was in her place he'd plough the south
elope of the meadow, and if she wanted flower-beds a strip
along the front near the road; the soil was best in those
spots, and she wouldn't need so much fertilizer.
Mrs. Hollister asked him how much he would charge to
do it, and he said a little job like that wasn't worth talking
about; that he used to rent the barn himself, and he always
did a little turn for Mr. Graham whenever he needed it. He
did it for Mr. Graham, and it wouldn't cost her "nothin'."
Mrs. Hollister asked him how much he would charge to
see where it would be best to have the ploughing done, and
when she came in a few minutes later and dropped down on
the couch to rest from her unusual fatigue a new thought
was racing through her mind. They could have a garden, a
real garden, with lettuce and green peas and lima beans and
corn ! She knew all about making them grow. She had been
brought up in a little village home, where a garden was a part
of every one's necessary equipment for living. She used to
kelp her father every spring and all summer. Her own littk
patch always took the prize of the family. But for years she
had been in the city without an inch of space. Now, how-
THE ENCHANTED BARN 169
ever, the old fever of delight in gardening took possession of
her. If she could get out and work in the ground, as the doctor
had suggested, she would get well right away. And why, with
Harley to help, and George and Carol to work a little every
evening, couldn't they raise enough on all that ground to sell
some ? George could take things into town early in the morn-
ing, or they could find some private families who would buy
all they had to sell. It was worth thinking about, anyway.
She could raise flowers for sale, too. She had always been a
success with flowers. She had always wanted a hothouse and
a chance to experiment. She heard the children say there
were some old window-sashes down under the barn. She
would get George to bring them out, and see what she could
do with a coldframe or two. Violets would grow under a
coldframe, and a lot of other things. Oh, if they could only
just live here always, and not have to go back to the city in
the fall ! But of course there was no way to heat the barn in
winter, and that was out of the question. Nevertheless, the
idea of making some money with growing things had seized
hold of her mind and would not be entirely put by. She
thought of it much, and talked of it now and then to Shirley
and the other children.
Shirley brought home some packages of seeds she got at
the ten-cent store, and there was great excitement planting
them. Then Mr. Graham sent over a lot of seeds, of both
vegetables and flowers, and some shrubs, puttings and bulbs
which he said were " left-overs " at their country house that
he thought perhaps the children could use ; and so before the
Hollisters knew it they were possessed of a garden, which
almost in a breath lifted up its green head and began to grow,
Life was very full for the Hollisters in those days, and
170 THE ENCHANTED BARN
those who went to the city for the day could hardly bear to
tear themselves away from the many delights of the country.
The puppy was getting bigger and wiser every day, tagging
Doris and Harley wherever they went, or sitting adoringly at
Mrs. Hollister's feet ; always bounding out to meet the evening
trolley on which George and Shirley came, and always attend-
ing them to the trolley in the morning.
Out behind the barn a tiny coop held a white hen and her
seven little downy balls of chickens. Another hen was hap-
pily ensconced in a barrel of hay with ten big blue duck-
eggs under her happy wings, and a little further down toward
the creek a fine chicken-run ended in a trig little roosting-
place for the poultry, which George had manufactured out
of a packing-box and some boards. The feathered family had
been increased by two white Leghorns and three bantams.
George and Harley spent their evenings watching them and
discussing the price of eggs and chickens per pound. They
were all very happy.
Elizabeth came out to spend Sunday as she had promised.
She got up early to see the sun rise and watch the birds. She
helped get breakfast and wash the dishes. Then she went with
the others across the fields to the little white church in the
valley to Sunday-school and church. She was as hungry and
eager as any of them when she came home, and joyfully
helped to do the work, taking great pride in the potatoes she
was allowed to warm up under careful tutelage. In the
afternoon there was no more eager listener among them to
the Bible story Shirley told to Doris and the book she read
aloud to them all afterward; her voice was sweetest and
.clearest of them all in the hymns they sang together; and she
was most eager to go with Shirley to the, Christian Endeavor
THE ENCHANTED BARN 171
" 1 shouldn't wonder if Sidney wishes he was here too/ 1
she remarked dreamily that evening, as she sat before the fir?
on a little cushion, her chin in her hands, her eyes on thd
fantastic shadows in the ashes.
She went to school with Carol the next morning, came
home with her in the afternoon, and when her brother came
for her in the evening she was most reluctant to go home to
the big, lonely, elegant house again, and begged that Carol
might soon come and see her.
Friday afternoon Elizabeth called up Mrs. Hollister.
" Please, Mrs. Hollister, let Carol come and stay with me
till Monday. I'm so lonesome, and mamma says she will be
so glad if you will let her come/'
" Oh, my dear, that would be impossible. Carol isn't
suitably dressed to make a visit, you know," answered tha
mother quickly, glad that she had so good an excuse for keep-
ing her child from this venture into an alien world about
which she had many grave doubts.
But the young voice at the other end of the telephone
" Dear Mrs. Hollister, please ! She doesn't need any other
clothes. I've got lots of things that would fit her. She loaned
me her gingham dress to make garden in, and why shouldn't
I loan her a dress to wear on Sunday? I've got plenty of
clean middy blouses and skirts and can fix her all out fresb
for school, too, Monday morning, and if you'll just let her
stay Sidney will take us both down to her school when he
goes to the office. You've got all those children there at
home, and I've only myself. Sidney doesn't count, you know,
for he's grown up."
So, with a sigh, the mother gave her consent, and Carol
172 THE ENCHANTED BARN
found the Graham car waiting for her when she came out of
school. Thus she started on her first venture into the world.
It was all like fairy-land that wonderful week-end to the
little girl whose memories were full of burdens and sacrifices :
the palatial home of many rooms and rich furnishings, the
swarm of servants, the anticipation of every want, the wide,
beautiful grounds with all that heart could wish in the way
of beauty and amusement, the music-room with grand piano,
harp, and violin lying mute most of the time, the great library
with its walls lined with rare books, mostly unread. Every-
thing there to satisfy any whim, reasonable or unreasonable,
and nobody using any of it much.
"Not a room in the whole place as dear and cozy and
homey as this ! " sighed Carol happily, sinking into the old
denim-covered couch before the fireplace in the barn-living-
room that Monday night after she got home. " I declare,
mother, I don't see how Elizabeth stands it. Her mother is
nice, but she's hardly ever there, unless she has a swarm of
people dinnering or teaing or lunching. She hardly ever has
time to speak to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth doesn't seem to
care much, either. She almost seems to think more of that
old nurse Susan that took care of her when she was a baby
than she does of .her mother. I'm so glad I was sent to you
instead of to her ! " And Carol suddenly slipped across the
room and buried her face in her mother's neck, hugging and
kissing her, leaving a few bright tears on her mother's
It was a wonderful relief to Mrs. Hollister to find her
child unspoiled by her first experience of the world and glad
to get back to her home, after all the anxiety her mother heart
had felt. Carol presently sat up and told them minutely all
THE ENCHANTED BARN 173
about her visit. The grand concert that Sidney had taken
them to Friday evening in the Academy of Music, where a
world-renowned pianist was the soloist with the great sym-
phony orchestra; the tennis and riding Saturday morning;
the luncheon at a neighboring estate, where there were three
Igirls and a brother who were " snobs " and hadn't at all good
^manners; the party in the evening that lasted so late that
they didn't get to bed till long after midnight; the beautiful
room they slept in, with every imaginable article for the toilet
done in sterling silver with monograms; the strange Sab-
bath, with no service in the morning because they woke up
too late, and no suggestion of anything but a holiday,
except the vesper service in a cold, formal chapel that Carol
had begged to go to; just a lot of worldly music and enter-
taming, with a multitude of visitors for the end of it. Carol
told of the beautiful dresses that Elizabeth had loaned her,
coral crepe de chine accordion-plaited for the concert, white
with an orange sash for the luncheon, pale yellow with a
black velvet girdle for the party, a little blue silk affair and
another lovely white organdie for Sunday, and all with their
accompanying silk stockings and slippers and gloves, and
necklaces and bands for her hair. It was most wonderful to
her, and as they listened they marvelled that their Carol had
come back to them so gladly, and rejoiced to see her nestling
in her brown linen skirt and middy blouse close beside her
mother's chair. She declared herself satisfied with her flight
into the world. She might like to go again for a glimpse
now and then, but she thought she would rather have Eliza-
beth out to Glenside. She hated to lose any of the time out
here, it was so pretty. Besides, it was lonesome without
About that time Shirley picked up the morning paper in
174 THE ENCiiANTED BARN
her office one day to look up a matter for Mr. Barnard. Her
eye happened to fall on the society column and catch the
name of Sidney Graham. She glanced down the column. It
was an account of a wedding in high circles in which Graham
had taken the part of best man, with Miss Harriet Hale
in blue tulle and white orchids as maid of honor for his
partner down the aisle. She read the column hurriedly,
hungrily, getting every detail, white spats, gardenia, and all fc
until in those few printed sentences a picture was printed
indelibly upon her vision, of Graham walking down the lily-
garlanded aisle with the maid in blue tulle and white orchids
on his arm. To make it more vivid the lady's picture was
in the paper along with Graham's, just under those of the
bride and groom, and her face was both handsome and
haughty. One could tell that by the tilt of chin, the short
upper lip, the cynical curve of mouth and sweep of long eye-
lash, the extreme effect of her dress and the arrangement of
her hair. Only a beauty could have stood that hair and not
been positively ugly.
Shirley suddenly realized what she was doing and turned
over the page of the paper with a jerk that tore the sheet
from top to bottom, going on with her search for the real-
estate column and the item she was after. All that morning
her typewriter keys clicked with mad rapidity, yet her work
was strangely correct and perfect. She was working under a
By noon she had herself in hand, realized what she had
been doing with her vagrant thoughts, and was able to laugh
at Miss Harriet Hale whoever or whatever she was. What
mattered it, Miss Harriet Hale or somebody else ? What was
that to Shirley Hollister? Mr. Graham was her landlord
and a kindly gentleman. He would probably continue to be
THE ENCHANTED BARN 175
that to her to the end of her tenancy, without regard to
Miss Hale or any other intruding Miss, and what did any-
thing else matter? She wanted nothing else of Mr. Graham
but to be a kindly gentleman whenever it was her necessity
to come in his way.
But although her philosophy was on hand and her pride
was aroused, she realized just where her heart might have
Deen tending if it had not been for this little jolt it got;
and she resolved to keep out of the gentleman's way when-
ever it was possible, and also, as far as she was able, to think
no more about him.
Keeping out of Sidney Graham's way was one thing, but
making him keep out of her way was quite another matter,
and Shirley realized it every time he came out to Glenside,
which he did quite frequently. She could not say to him that
she wished he would not come. She could not be rude to him.
when he came. There was no way of showing him pointedly
that she was not thinking of him in any way but as her land-
lord, because he never showed in any way that he was ex-
pecting her to. He just happened in evening after evening,
in his frank, jolly way, on one pretext or other, never staying
very long, never showing her any more attention than he did
her mother or Carol or the boys, not so much as he did to
Doris. How was she to do anything but sit quietly and take
the whole thing as a matter of course ? It really was a matter
to deal with in her own heart alone. And there the battle
must be fought if ever battle there was to be. Meantime, she
could not but own that this frank, smiling, merry young man
did bring a lot of life and pleasure into their lives, dropping
in that way, and why should she not enjoy it when it came,
seeing it in no wise interfered with Miss Harriet Hale's rights
tnd prerogatives? Nevertheless, Shirley withdrew more and
176 THE ENCHANTED BARN
more into quietness whenever he came, and often slipped into
the kitchen on some household pretext, until one day be boldly
came out into the kitchen after her with a book he wanted her
to read, and was so frank and companionable that she led
the way back to the living-room, and concluded it would be
better in future to stay with the rest of the family.
Shirley had no intention whatever of letting her heart
stray out after any impossible society man. She had her work
in the world, and to it she meant to stick. If there were
dreams she kept them well under lock and key, and only took
them out now and then at night when she was very tired and
discouraged and life looked hard and long and lonely on
ahead. Shirley had no intention that Sidney Graham should
ever have reason to think, when he married Miss Harriet
Hale or some one equivalent to her, that any poor little
stenographer living in a barn had at one time fancied him
fond of her. No, indeed ! Shirley tilted her firm little chin
at the thought, and declined to ride with Graham and
Elizabeth the next time they called at the office for her, on
the plea that she had promised to go home in the trolley with
one of the office girls. And yet the next time she saw him he
was just as pleasant, and showed no sign that she had declined
his invitation. In fact, the whole basis of their acquaintance
was such that she felt free to go her own way and yet know
he would be just as pleasant a friend whenever she needed one.
Matters stood in this way when Graham was suddenly
obliged to go West on a trip for the office, to be gone three or
four weeks. Mrs. Graham and Elizabeth went to the Adiron-
dacks for a short trip, and the people at Glenside settled down
to quiet country life, broken only by a few visits from their
farm neighbors, and a call from the cheery, shabby pastor of
+.he little white church in the valley.
GRAHAM did not seem to forget his friends entirely while
he was gone. The boys received a number of post-cards from
time to time, and a lot of fine views of California, Yellowstone
Park, the Grand Canon, and other spots of interest. A
wonderful picture-book came for Doris, with Chinese pictures,
and rhymes printed on crepe paper. The next morning a
tiny sandalwood fan arrived for Carol with Graham's compli-
ments, and a few days later a big box of oranges for Mrs.
Hollister with no clew whatever as to their sender. Shirley
began to wonder what her part would be and what she should
do about it, and presently received a letter ! And then, after
all, it was only a pleasant request that she would not pay the
rent, about which she had always been so punctual, until his
return, as no one else understood about his affairs. He added
A few words about his pleasant trip and a wish that they were
all prospering, and that was all.
Shirley was disappointed, of course, and yet, if he had said
more, or if he had ventured to send her even a mere trifle
of a gift, it would have made her uncomfortable and set her
questioning how she should treat him and it. It was the
perfection of his behavior that he had not overstepped a single
bound that the most particular might set for a landlord and
his respected tenant. She drew a deep sigh and put the
letter back into the envelope, and ae she did so she spied a
small card, smaller than the envelope, on which was an
exquisite bit of scenery, a colored photograph, apparently,
and underneath had been pencilled, " One of the many beau-
178 THE ENCHANTED BARN
tiful spots in California that I am sure you would appreciate.*
Her heart gave an unforbidden leap, and was promptly
taken to task for it. Yet when Shirley went back to her
typewriter the bit of a picture was pinned to the wall back of
her desk, and her eyes rested on it many times that day when
she lifted them from her work. It is questionable whether
Shirley remembered Miss Harriet Hale at all that day.
The garden was growing beautifully now. There would
soon be lettuce and radishes ready to eat. George had secured
a number of customers through people at the store, and was
planning to take early trips to town, when his produce was
ripe, to deliver it. They watched every night and looked
again every morning for signs of the first pea blossoms, and
the little green spires of onion tops, like sparse hairs, begin-
ning to shoot up. Every day brought some new wonder.
They almost forgot they had ever lived in the little old brick
house, until George rode by there on his bicycle one noon and
reported that it had been half pulled down, and you could
now see the outline of where the stairs and closets had been,
done in plaster, on the side of the next house. They were
all very silent for a minute thinking after he told that, and
Mrs. Hollister looked around the great airy place in which
they were sitting, an I then out the open door where the faint
stain of sunset was still lingering against the horizon, and
"We ought all to be very thankful, children. George,
get the Bible and read the thirty-fourth psalm/' Wonder-
ingly George obeyed, and they all sat listening as the words
sank into their souls.
" Now/' said the mother when the psalm was finished
and those last words, " The Lord redeemeth the souJ of his
THE ENCHANTED BARN 179
servants, and none of them that trust in mm shall be desolate" ;
" now let us kneel down and thank Him."
And they all knelt while she prayed a few earnest, simple
words of thanksgiving and commended them to God's keeping.
By this time Mrs. Hollister was so well that she went every
day for a little while into the garden and worked, and was
able to do a great deal in the house. The children were over-
joyed, and lived in a continual trance of delight over the
wild, free life they were living. Carol's school had closed
and Carol was at home all day. This made one more to help
in the garden. George was talking about building a little
pigeon-house and raising squabs for sale. The man who did
the ploughing had given him a couple to start with and told
him there was money in squabs if one only went about it
right. George and Harley pored over a book that told all
about it, and talked much on the subject.
The weather was growing warm, and Shirley was wishing
her vacation came in July or August instead of the first two
weeks in September. Somehow she felt so used up these hot
days, and the hours dragged by so slowly. At night the
trolleys were crowded until they were half-way out to Glen-
side. She often had to stand, and her head ached a great
deal. Yet she was very happy and thankful only there was
BO much to be done in this world, and she seemed to have so
little strength to do it all. The burden of next fall came
occasionally to mar the beauty of the summer, and rested
heavily upon her young shoulders. If only there wouldn't be
any winter for just one year, and they could stay in the
barn and get rested and get a little money ahead somehow for
moving. It was going to be so hard to leave that wide, beau-
tiful abiding-place, barn though it was.
180 THE ENCHANTED BARN
One morning nearly four weeks after Graham lef< for
California Shirley was called from her desk to the outer
office to take some dictation for Mr. Clegg. While she was
there two men entered the outer office and asked for Mr.
Barnard. One of them was a short, thick-set man with a
pretentious wide gray mustache parted in the middle and
combed elaborately out on his cheeks. He had a red face, little
cunning eyes, and a cruel set to his jaw, which somehow seemed
ridiculously at variance with his loud, checked suit, sporty
necktie of soft bright blue satin, set with a scarf-pin of two
magnificent stones, a diamond and a sapphire, and with the
three showy jewelled rings which he wore on his fat, pudgy
hand. The other man was sly, quiet, gray, unobtrusive,
obviously the henchman of the first.
Mr. Clegg told the men they might go into the inner
office and wait for Mr. Barnard, who would probably be in
shortly, and Shirley watched them as they passed out of her
view, wondering idly why those exquisite stones had to be
wasted in such an out-of-place spot as in that coarse-looking
man's necktie, and if a man like that really cared for beau-
tiful things, else why should he wear them ? It was only a
passing thought, and then she took up her pencil and took
down the closing sentences of the letter Mr. Clegg was dic-
tating. It was but a moment more and she was free to go
back to her own little alcove just behind Mr. Barnard's office
and connecting with it. There was an entrance to it from
the tiny cloak-room, which she always used when Mr. Barnard
had visitors in his office, and through this way she now went,
having a strange repugnance toward being seen by the two
men. She had an innate sense that the man with the gaudy
garments would not be one who would treat a young 1 girl in^
ENCHANTED BARN 181
tier position with any respect, and she did not care to come
xmder his coarse gaze, so she slipped in quietly through the
cloak-room, and passed like a shadow the open door into
Mr. Barnard's office, where they sat with their backs toward
her, having evidently just settled down and begun to talk.
She could hear a low-breathed comment on the furnishings
of the office as indicating a good bank-account of the owner,
and a coarse jest about a photograph of Mr. Barnard's wife
which stood on his desk. It made her wish that the door
between the rooms was closed; yet she did not care to rise
and close it lest she should call attention to herself, and of
course it might be but a minute or two before Mr. Barnard
returned. A pile of envelopes to be addressed lay on her
desk, and this work she could do without any noise, so she
slipped softly into her seat and began to work.
"Well, we got them Grahams good and fast now!" a
coarse voice, that she knew for that of the man with the loud
clothing, spoke. " The young feller bit all right ! I thought
he would. He's that kind." He stopped for a laugh of con-
tempt, and Shirley's heart stood still with apprehension.
What could it mean ? Was it something about her Grahams ?
Some danger threatening them ? Some game being played on
them? He looked like the kind of man who lived on the
blindnesses of others. What was it they called such? A
parasite? Instinctively she was on the alert at once, and<
automatically she reached for the pad on which she took
dictation and began to write down in shorthand what she
had just heard. The voice in the other room went on and her
fountain pen kept eager pace, her breath coming quick and
short now, and her face white with excitement.
"He went out to see the place, you know, examine the
182 THE ENCHANTED BARN
mines and all that. Oh, he's awful cautious ! Thought he
took a government expert with him to test the ore. We fixed
that up all right had the very man on tap at the right minute,
government papers all 0. K. you couldn't have told 'em
from the real thing. It was Casey; you know him; he's a
cracker jack on a job like that, could fool the devil himself.
Well, he swore it was the finest kind of ore and all that kind
of dope, and led that Graham kid around as sweetly as a
blue-eyed baby. We had a gang out there all bribed, you
know, to swear to things, and took particular pains so Graham
would go around and ask the right ones questions, Casey
tended to that, and now he's come home with the biggest
kind of a, tale and ready to boost the thing to the skies. I've
got his word for it, and his daddy is to sign the papers this
morning. When he wakes up one of these fine days he'll
find himself minus a hundred thousand or so, and nobody to
blame for it, because how could anybody be expected to know
that those are only pockets? He'll recommend it right and
left too, and we'll clean out a lot of other fellers before we
get done. Teddy, my boy, pat yourself on the back ! We'll
have a tidy little sum between us when we pull out of this
deal, and take a foreign trip for our health till the fracas
blows over. Now mind you, not a word of this to Barnard
when he comes in. We're only going to pave the way this
morning. The real tip comes from Graham himself. See ? "
Shirley was faint and dizzy with excitement as she finished
writing, and her brain was in a whirl. She felt as if she would
scream in a minute if this strain kept up. The papers were
to be signed that morning! Even now the deed might be
done and it would be too late, perhaps, to stop it. And yet
she must make no sign, must not have the men know that she
THE ENCHANTED BARN 183
was there and that they had been heard. She must sit here
breathless until they were gone, so they would not know she
had overheard them, or they might manage to prevent her
getting word to Graham. How long would they stay ? Would
they talk on and reveal more? The other man had only
grunted something unintelligible in reply, and then before
more could be said an office boy opened the outer door and told
them that Mr. Barnard had just phoned that he would not be
back before two o'clock.
The men swore and went out grumbling. Suddenly
Shirley knew her time had come to do something. Stepping
quickly to the door she scanned the room carefully to make
sure they were gone, then closing her own door she took up
the telephone on her desk and called up the Graham number.
She did not know just what she meant to say, nor what she
would do if Sidney Graham were not in the office, and it was
hardly probable he would be there yet if he had only arrived
home the day before. He would be likely to take a day off
before getting back to work. Her throbbing heart beat out
these questions to her brain while she waited for the number.
Would she dare to ask for Mr. Walter Graham? And if she
did, what would she say to him ? How explain ? He did not
know her, and probably never heard of her. He might think
her crazy. Then there ^as always the possibility that there
wafl some mistake and yet it seemed a coincidence that two
men of the same name should both be going West at that time.
It must be these Grahams that the plot was against. But how
explain enough over the phone to do any good ? Of course she
must give them a copy of what she had taken down in short-
hand, but first she must stop the signing of those papers, what-
ever they were, at ill costs.
184 THE ENCHANTED BARN
Then all at once, into the midst of her whirling confusion
of thoughts, came a voice at the other end of the phone,
" Hello ! " and her frantic senses realized that it was a
" Oh, is this, -this is Mr. Sidney Graham, isn't it? This
is Shirley Hollister."
There was a catch in her voice that sounded almost like a
sob as she drew in her breath with relief to know that he
was there, and his answer came in swift alarm:
" Yes ? Is there anything the matter, Miss Shirley ? You
are not ill, are you?"
There was a sharp note of anxiety in the young man'a
voice, and even in her excitement it made Shirley's heart
leap to hear it.
" No, there is nothing the matter with me," she said,
trying to steady her voice, " but something has happened that
I think you ought to know at once. I don't know whether I
ought to tell it over the phone. I'm not sure but I may be^
" I will come to you immediately. Where can I find you? "
Her heart leaped again at his willingness to trust her and
to obey her call.
" In Mr. Barnard's private office. If you ask for me they
will let you come right in. There is one thing more. If there
is anything important your father was to decide this morn-
ing, could you get him to wait till you return, or till you
There was a second's hesitation, and the reply was politely
puzzled but courteous:
" He is not in the office at present and will not be for an
THE ENCHANTED BARN 185
" Oh, I'm so glad ! Then please hurry! "
" I will get there as soon as I can," and the phone clicked
Shirley sat back in her chair and pressed her hands over
her eyes to concentrate all her powers. Then she turned to
her typewriter and began to copy off the shorthand, her
fingers flying over the keys with more than their usual swift-
ness. As she wrote she prayed, prayed that nothing might
have been signed, and that her warning might not come too
late; prayed, too, that Mr. Barnard might not return until
Mr. Graham had been and gone, and that Mr. Graham might
not think her an utter fool in case this proved to have nothing
whatever to do with his affairs.
WHEN Graham entered the office Shirley came to meet him
quietly, without a word of greeting other than to put her
little cold hand into his that he held out to her. She began
to speak in a low voice full of suppressed excitement. She had
a vague fear lest the two men might be still lingering about
the outer office, waiting for Mr. Barnard, and a momentary
dread lest Mr. Barnard might enter the room at any minute.
She must get the telling over before he came.
" Mr. Graham, two men were sitting in this room waiting
for Mr. Barnard a few minutes ago, and I was in my little
room just back there. I could not help hearing what they
said, and when I caught the name of Graham in connection
with what sounded like an evil plot I took down their words
in shorthand. It may not have anything to do with your
firm, but 1 thought I ought to let you know. I called you on
the phone as soon as they left the office and would not hear me,
and I have made this copy of their conversation. Eead it
quickly, please, because if it does have anything to do with
you, you will want to phone your father at once, before those
men can get there/'
Her tone was very cool, and her hand was steady as she
handed him the typewritten paper, but her heart was beat-
ing mildly, because there had been a look in his eyes as he
greeted her that made her feel that he was glad to see her,
and it touched an answering gladness in her heart and filled
her both with delight and with apprehension. What a fool
she was !
THE ENCHANTED BARN 187
She turned sharply away and busied herself with arrang-
ing some papers on Mr. Barnard's desk while he read. She
must still this excitement and get control of herself before he
was through. She must be the cool, impersonal stenographer,
and not let him suspect for a moment that she was so excited
about seeing him again.
The young man stood still, reading rapidly, his face grow-
ing graver as he read. The girl snatched a furtive glance at
him, and felt convinced that the matter was a serious one and
fead to do with him,
Suddenly he looked up.
".Do you know who those men were, Miss Shirley?" he
asked, and she saw his eyes were full of anxiety.
" No/' said Shirley. " But I saw them as they passed
through the outer office, and stopped to speak to Mr. Clegg.
I was taking dictation from Mr. Clegg at the time. I came
back to my desk through the cloak-room, so they did not know
I was within hearing."
"What kind of looking men were they? Do you
remember ? "
She described them.
Certainty grew in his face as she talked, and grave concern.
" May I use your phone a minute ? " he asked after an
She led him to her own desk and handed him the receiver,
then stepped back into the office and waited.
" Hello! Is that you, Edward?" she heard him say.
" Has father come yet ? Give me his phone, please. Hello,
father; this is Sidney. Father, has Kremnitz come in yet?
He has ? You say he's waiting in the office to see you ? Well,
don't see him, father, till I get there. Something has turned
188 THE ENCHANTED BARN
up that I'm afraid is going to alter matters entirely.
pretty serious, I'm afraid. Don't see him. Keep him waiting.
I'll be there in five minutes, and come in from the back way
directly to your office. Don't talk with him on any account
till I can get there. Good-by."
He hung up the receiver and turned to Shirley.
" Miss Shirley, you were just in time to save us. I haven't
time now to tell you how grateful I am for this. I must
hurry right over. Do you suppose if we should need you it
would be possible for you to come over and identify those
men ? Thank you. I'll speak to Mr. Clegg about it as I go
out, and if we find it necessary we'll phone you. In case you
have to come I'll have an office-boy in the hall to take youi
hat, and you can come right into the office as if you wero
one of our employees just walk over to the bookcase as if
you were looking for a book any book. Select one and look
through it, meanwhile glancing around the room, and see if
you find those men. Then walk through into my office. I'll
be waiting there. G-ood-by, and thank you so much ! "
He gave her hand one quick clasp and was gone, and
Shirley found she was trembling from head to foot. She
walked quickly into her own room and sat down, burying her
face in her hands and trying to get control of herself, but the
tears would come to her eyes in spite of all she could do. It
was not the excitement of getting the men and stopping their
evil plans before they could do any damage, although that had
something to do with her nervous state, of course; and it
was not just that she had been able to do a little thing in
return for all he had done for her; nor even his gratitude;
it was she could not deny it to herself it was a certain
quality in his voice, a something in the look he ga/e her, that (
THE ENCHANTED BARN 180
made her whole soul glow, and seemed to fill the hungry
longing that had been in her heart.
It frightened her and made her ashamed, and as she sat
with bowed head she prayed that she might be given strength
to act like a sensible girl, and crush out such foolish thoughts
before they dared lift their heads and be recognized even by
her own heart. Then strengthened, she resolved to think no
more about the matter, but just get her work done and be
ready to enter into that other business if it became necessary.
Mr. Barnard would be coming soon, and she must have his
work finished. She had lost almost an hour by this matter.
She went at her typewriter pell-mell, and soon had Mr.
Clegg's letters done. She was nearly through with the ad-
dressing that Mr. Barnard left for her to do when the
telephone called her to Graham's office.
She slipped on her hat and hurried out.
"Will it be all right for me to take my noontime now,
Mr. Clegg ? " she said, stopping by his desk. " Mr. Graham
said he spoke to you."
" Yes, he wants you to help him identify some one. That's
all right. I'll explain to Mr. Barnard when he comes. There's
nothing important you have to finish, is there? All done
but those envelopes? Well, you needn't return until one
o'clock, anyway. The envelopes can wait till the four-o'clock
mail, and if Mr. Barnard needs anything in a hurry Miss
Dwight can attend to it this time. Just take your time,
Shirley went out bewildered by the unusual generosity of
Mr. Clegg, who was usually taciturn and abrupt. She
realized, however, that his warmth must be due to Graham's
*isit, and not to any special desire to give her a holiday. She
190 THE ENCHANTED BARN <
smiled to think what a difference wealth and position made
in the eyes of the world.
The same office-boy she had met on her first visit to
Graham's office was waiting most respectfully for her now
in the hall when she got out of the elevator, and she gave
him her hat and walked into the office according to pro-
gramme, going straight to the big glass bookcase full of
calf -bound volumes, and selecting one after running her finger
over two rows of them. She was as cool as though her part
had been rehearsed many times, although her heart was pound-
ing most unmercifully, and it seemed as though the people
in the next room must hear it. She stood and opened her
book, casting a casual glance about the room.
There, sure enough, quite near to her, sat the two men,
fairly bursting with impatience. The once immaculate hair
of the loudly dressed one was rumpled as if he had run his
fingers through it many times, and he played nervously with
his heavy rings, and caressed half viciously his elaborate mus*
tache, working his thick, sensuous lips impatiently all the
while. Shirley took a good look at him, necktie, scarf-pin,
and ail ; looked keenly into the face of the gray one also ; then
coolly closed the door of the bookcase and carried the book she
had selected into Sidney Graham's office.
Graham was there, standing to receive her, and just back
of him stood a kindly-faced elderly man with merry blue eyes,
gray hair, and a stylishly cut beard. By their attitude and
manner Shirley somehow sensed that they had both been
watching her. Then Graham introduced her.
" This is my father, Miss Hollister."
The elder man took her hand and shook it heartily, speak-
ing in a gruff, hearty way that won her from the first:
"I'm glad to know you, Miss Hollister. I certainly am!
THE ENCHANTED BARN 191
My son has been telling me what you've done for us, and I
think you're a great little girl ! That was bully work you did,
and I appreciate it. I was watching you out there in the office.
You were as cool as a cucumber. You ought to be a detective.
You found your men all right, did you ? "
"Yes, sir," said Shirley, much abashed, and feeling the
return of that foolish trembling in her limbs. "Yes, they
are both out there, and the short one with the rings and the
blue necktie is the one that did the talking."
"Exactly what I thought/ 3 drawled the father, with a
keen twinkle in his kindly eyes. " I couldn't somehow trust
that chap from the start. That's why I sent my son out to
investigate. Well, now, will you just step into my private
office, Miss Hollister, and take your seat by the typewriter as
if you were my stenographer? You'll find paper there in the
drawer, and you can just be writing write anything, you
choose, so it looks natural when the men come in. When we
get to talking I'd like you to take down in shorthand all that
is said by all of us. You're pretty good at that, I judge,
Sid, will you phone for those officers now ? I think it's about
time for the curtain to rise." And he led the way into his
Shirley sat down at the typewriter as she had been directed
and began to write mechanically. Mr. Graham touched the
bell on his desk, and told the office boy who answered to send
in Mr. Kremnitz and his companion.
Shirley was so seated that she could get occasional glimpses
of the men without being noticed, and she was especially
interested in the twinkle that shone in the bright blue eyes
of the elder Graham as he surveyed the men who thought he
was their dupe. Her heart warmed to him. His kindly,
192 THE ENCHANTED BARN
merry face, his hearty, unconventional speech, all showed him
to be a big, warm-hearted man without a bit of snobbishness
The son came in, and talk began just as if the matter of
the mine were going on. Mr. Kremnitz produced some papers
which he evidently expected to be signed at once, and sat
complacently answering questions ; keen questions Shirley saw
they were afterwards, and in the light of the revelation she
had overheard in Mr. Barnard's office Kremnitz perjured him-
self hopelessly by his answers. Presently the office-boy an-
nounced the arrival of some one in the next room. Shirley had
taken down minutely a great deal of valuable information which
the Grahams had together drawn from their victim. She was
surprised at the list of wealthy business men who were to have
been involved in the scheme.
Then suddenly the quiet scene changed. The elder
Graham gave a signal to his office-boy, which looked merely
like waving him away, and the door was flung open, revealing
four officers of the law, who stepped into the room without
further word. Graham arose and faced his two startled callers,
his hand firmly planted on the papers on his desk which he
"had been supposed to sign.
"Mr. Kremnitz," he said, and even in the midst of this
serious business Shirley fancied there was a half-comic drawl
to his words. He simply could not help letting his sense of
humor come on top. " Mr. Kremnitz, it is not going to be
possible for me to sign these papers this morning, as you'
expected. I do not feel satisfied that all things are as you
have represented. In fact, I have the best evidence to the
Contrary. Officer, these are the gentlemen you have come to
irrest," and he stepped back and waved his hand toward the
THE ENCHANTED BARN 193
two conspirators, who sat with startled eyes and blanched faces,
appalled at the sudden developments where they had thought
all was moving happily toward their desired end.
"Arrest! Who? On what charge?" flashed the little
gaudy Kremnitz, angrily springing to his feet and making a
dash toward the door, while his companion slid furtively toward
the other end of the room, evidently hoping to gain young
Graham's office before he was noticed. But two officers blocked
their way and the handcuffs clanked in the hands of the other
" Why, arrest you, my friend," said Graham senior, as if
he rather enjoyed the little man's discomfiture. "And for
trying to perpetrate the biggest swindle that has been at-
tempted for ten years. I must say for you that you've worked
hard, and done the trick rather neatly, but you made one
unfortunate slip that saved all us poor rich men. It seems
a pity that so much elaborate lying should have brought you
two nothing but those bracelets you're wearing, they don't
seem to match well with your other jewels, but that's thfc
way things go in this world. Now, take them away, officer.
I've no more time to waste on them this morning ! " and he
turned and walked over by Shirley's desk, while the curtain
fell over the brief drama.
"Do jou know how much money you've saved for us,
little girl, just plain saved ? I'll tell you. A clean hundred
thousand ! That's what I was going to put into this affair I
And as for other men, I expected to influence a lot of other
men to put in a good deal also. Now, little girl, I don't know
what you think about it, but I want to shake hands." He
put out his hand and Shirley laid her own timid one in it,
smiling and blushing rosily, and saying softly with what
194 THE ENCHANTED BARN
excited breath she had, " Oh, I'm so glad I got you in time ! *
Then she was aware that the man had gone on talking. " I
don't know what you think about it," he repeated, "but I
feel that you saved me a clean hundred thousand dollars, and
I say that a good percentage of that belongs to you as a
reward of your quickness and keenness/'
But Shirley drew away her hand and stepped back, her
face white, her head up, her chin tilted proudly, her eyes
very dark with excitement and determination. She spoke
clearly and earnestly.
" No, Mr. Graham, nothing whatever belongs to me. I
don't want any reward. I couldn't tlrak of taking it. It is
utterly out of the question ! "
" Well, well, well ! " said the elder Graham, sitting down
on the edge of his desk, watching her in. undisguised r.dmira*
tion. " Now that's a new kind of girl that won't take what
she's earned, what rightly belongs to her."
" Mr. Graham, it was a very little thing I did, anybody
would have done it, and it was just in the way of simple
duty. Please don't say anything more about it. I am only
too glad to have had opportunity to give a little help to people
who have helped me so much. I feel that I am under deep
obligation to your son for making it possible for us to live
in the country, where my mother is getting well."
" Well, now I shall have to inquire into this business. I
haven't heard anything about obligations, and for my part I
feel a big one just now. Perhaps you think it was a very
little thing you did, but suppose you hadn't done it. Sup-
pose you'd been too busy, or it hadn't occurred to you to take
down that conversation until it was too late ; or suppose you
hadn't had the brains to see what it would mean to us. Why.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 194
then it would have become a very big thing indeed, and we
should have been willing, if we had known, to pay a mighty
big sum to get that evidence. You see a hundred thousand
dollars isn't exactly a very little thing when you're swindled
out of it. It's the swindling that hurts more than the loss
of the money. And you saved us from that. Now, young
lady, I consider myself under obligation to you, and I intend
to discharge it somehow. If I can't do it one way I shall
another, but in the meantime I'm deeply grateful, and please
accept our thanks. If you are willing to add one more to
your kindness, I shall be glad if you will make a carbon copy
of those shorthand notes you took. I may need them for
evidence. And, by the way, you will probably be called upon
to testify in court. I'm sorry. That may be unpleasant, but
I guess it can't be helped, so you see before you get through
you may not think you did so very small a thing after all.
Sid, I think you better escort this young lady back to her office
and explain to Barnard. He's probably been on the verge of
being buncoed also. You said Kremnitz was waiting for him
when the conversation took place? I guess you better go
with Miss Hollister and clear the whole thing up. Say, child,
have you had your lunch yet? No, of course not. Sidney,
you take her to get some lunch before she goes back to the
office. She's had an exciting morning. Now, good-by, little
girl. I sha'n't forget what you've done for us, and I'm coming
to see you pretty soon and get things squared up."
So that was how it came about that in spite of her pro-
tests Mr. Sidney Graham escorted Shirley Hollister into one
of the most exclusive tea-rooms of the city, and seated her at
a little round table set for two, while off at a short distance
Miss Harriet Hale sat with her mother, eating her lunch and
196 THE ENCHANTED BARN
trying in vain to " place " the pretty girl she did not recognize.
It never occurred to her for a moment that Sidney Gra-
ham's companion might be a stenographer, for Shirley had
a knack about her clothes that made her always seem well
dressed. That hat she wore had seen service for three sum-
mers, and was now a wholly different shape and color from
what it had been when it began life. A scrub in hot water
had removed the dust of toil, some judiciously applied dye
had settled the matter of color, and a trifling manipulation on
her head while the hat was still wet had made the shape not
only exceedingly stylish but becoming. The chic little rosette
and strictly tailored band which were its sole trimming were
made from a much-soiled waist-ribbon, washed and stretched
around a bottle of hot water to dry it, and teased into the latest
thing in rosettes by Shirley's witching fingers. The simple
linen dress she wore fitted well and at a distance could not
have been told from something better, and neither were gloves
and shoes near enough to be inspected critically, so Miss Hale
was puzzled, and jealously watched the pretty color come and
go in Shirley's cheek, and the simple grace of her movements.
Fortunately, Shirley did not see Miss Hale, and would
not have recognized her if she had from that one brief
glimpse she had of her picture on the society page of the
newspaper. So she ate her delectable lunch, ordered by
Graham, in terms that she knew not, about dishes that she
had never seen before. She ate and enjoyed herself so in-
tensely that it seemed to her she would never be able to make
the rest of her life measure up to the privileges of the hour.
For Shirley was a normal girl. She could not help being
pleased to be doing just for once exactly as other more favored
girls did constantly. To be lunching at Blanco's with one of
THE ENCHANTED BARN 197
the most-sought-after men in the upper set, to be treated
like a queen, and to be talking beautiful things about travels
and pictures and books, it was all too beautiful to be real.
Shirley began to feel that if it didn't get over pretty soon
and find her back in the office addressing the rest of those
envelopes she would think she had died in the midst of a
dream and gone to heaven.
There was something else too that brought an undertone of
beauty, which she was not acknowledging even to her inmost
self. That was the way Graham looked at her^ ac if she were
some fine beautiful angel dropped down from above that he
loved to look at; as if he really cared what she thought and
did; as if there were somehow a soul-harmony between them
that set them apart this day from others, and put them into
tune with one another; as if he were glad, rtad to see her
once more after the absence ! All through her being it thrilled
like a song that brings tears to the throat and gladness to
the eyes, and makes one feel strong and pure. That was
how it seemed when she thought about it afterward. At the
time she was just living it in wonder and thanksgiving.
At another time her sordid worldliness and pride might
have risen and swelled with haughtiness of spirit over the
number of people who eyed her enviously as they went out
together; over the many bows and salutations her escort
received from people of evident consequence, for she had the
normal human pride somewhere in her nature as we all have.
But just then her heart was too humble with a new, strange
happiness to feel it or take it in, and she walked with uncon-
scious grace beside him, feeling only the joy of being there.
Later, in the quiet of her chamber, her mother's warning
came to her, and her cheeks burned with shame in the dark
198 THE ENCHANTED BARN
that her heart had dared make so much of a common little
luncheon, just a mere courtesy after she had been able to do
a favor. Yet through it all Shirley knew there was some-
thing fine and true there that belonged just to her, and
presently she would rise above everything and grasp it and
keep it hers forever.
She felt the distinction of her escort anew when she
entered Barnard and Clegg's in his company, and saw Mr.
Clegg spring to open the door and to set a chair for his young
guest, saw ?ven Mr. Barnard rise and greet him with almost
reverence. And this honor she knew was being paid to money,
the great demagogue. It was not the man that she admired
to whom they were paying deference, it was to his money ! She
smiled to herself. It was the man she admired, not his money.
All that afternoon she worked with flying fingers, turning
off the work at marvellous speed, amused when she heard the
new note of respect in Mr. Barnard's voice as he gave her a
direction. Mr. Barnard had been greatly impressed with the
story Graham had told him, and was also deeply grateful on
his own account that Shirley had acted as she had, for he had
been on the verge of investing a large trust fund that was in
his keeping in the new mining operation, and it would have
meant absolute failure for him.
When Shirley left the office that night she was almost too
tired to see which trolley was coming, but some one touched
her on the arm, and there was Sidney Graham waiting for her
beside his car, a litcle two-passenger affair that she had
never seen before and that went like the wind. They took a
road they had not travelled together before, and Shirley got
in joyously, her heart all in a tumult of doubts and joys and
WHAT that ride was to Shirley she hardly dared let her-
self think afterwards. Sitting cozily beside Graham in the
little racing car, gliding through the better part of town
where all the tall, imposing houses slept with drawn blinds,
and dust-covered shutters proclaimed that their owners were
far away from heat and toil. Out through wide roads and
green-hedged lanes, where stately mansions set in flowers and
mimic landscapes loomed far back from road in dignified
seclusion. Passing now and then a car of people who recog-
nized Graham and bowed in the same deferential way as they
had done in the tea-room. And all the time his eyes were upon
her, admiring, delighting; and his care about her, solicitout
for her comfort.
Once he halted the car and pointed off against the sunset,
where wide gables and battlemented towers stood gray amidst
a setting of green shrubbery and trees, and velvety lawns
reached far, to high, trim hedges arched in places for an
entrance to the beautiful estate.
" That is my home over there," he said, and watched her
widening eyes. " I wish I had time to take you over to-night,
but I know you are tired and ought to get home and rest.
Another time we'll go around that way/' And her heart
leaped up as the car went forward again. There was to be
another time, then ! Ah ! But she must not allow it. Her
heart was far too foolish already. Yet she would enjoy this
ride, now she was started.
They talked about the sunset and a poem he had lately
200 THE ENCHANTED BARN
read. He told her bits about his journey, referring to his
experience at the mines, touching on some amusing incidents,
sketching some of the queer characters he had met. Once he
asked her quite abruptly if she thought her mother would be
disturbed if he had a cement floor put in the basement of the
barn some time soon. He wanted to have it done before cold
weather set in, and it would dry better now in the hot days.
Of course, if it would be in the least disturbing to any of them
it could wait, but he wanted to store a few things there that
were being taken out of the office buildings, and he thought
they would keep drier if there was a cement floor. When she
aid it would not disturb any one in the least, would on the
contrary be quite interesting for the children to watch, she was
jdure, he went easily back to California scenery and never
referred to it again.
All through the ride, which was across a country she had
never seen before, and ended at Glenside approaching from a
new direction, there was a subtle something between them, a
sympathy and quick understanding as if they were comrades,
almost partners in a lot of common interests. Shirley chided
herself for it every time she looked up and caught his glance,
and felt the thrill of pleasure in this close companionship.
Of course it was wholly in her own imagination, and due
entirely to the nervous strain through which she had passed
that day, she told herself. Of course, he had nothing in his
mind but the most ordinary kindly desire to give her a good
time out of gratitude for what she had done for him. But
nevertheless it was sweet, and Shirley was loath to surrender
the joy of it while it lasted, dream though it might be.
It lasted all the way, even up to the very stop in front of
the barn when he took her hand to help her out, and hi
THE ENCHANTED BARN 201
fingers lingered on hers with just an instant's pressure, send-
ing a thrill to her heart again, and almost bringing tears to
her eyes. Foolishness ! She was overwrought. It was a shame
that human beings were so made that they had to become weak
like that in a time of pleasant rejoicing.
The family came forth noisily to meet them, rejoicing
openly at Graham's return, George and Harley vying with
each other to shout the news about the garden and the
chickens and the dove-cote; Carol demanding to know where
was Elizabeth; and Doris earnestly looking in his face and
"Ickle budie fy away, Mistah Gwaham. All gone! All
ickle budies f y away ! "
Even Mrs. Hollister came smiling to the door to meet
him, and the young man had a warm word of hearty greeting
and a hand-shake for each one. It was as if he had just got
home to a place where he loved to be, and he could not show
his joy enough. Shirley stood back for the moment watching
him, admiring the way his hair waved away from his temples,
thinking how handsome he looked when he smiled, wondering
that he could so easily fit himself into this group, which must
in the nature of things be utterly different from his native
element, rejoicing over the deference he paid to her plain,
quiet mother, thrilling over the kiss he gave her sweet little
Then Mrs. Hollister did something perfectly unexpected
and dreadful she invited him to stay to dinner! Shirley
stood back and gasped. Of course he would decline, but think
of the temerity of inviting the wealthy and cultured Mr.
Graham to take dinner in his own barn!
Oh! But he wasn't going to decline at all. He was
202 THE ENCHANTED BARN
accepting as if it were a great pleasure Mrs. Hollister was
conferring upon him. Sure, he would stay! He had been
wishing all the way out they would ask him. He had won-
dered whether he dared invite himself.
Shirley with her cheeks very red hurried in to see that
the table-cloth was put on straight, and look after one or two
little things ; but behold, he followed her out, and, gently in-
sisting and assisting, literally compelled her to come and lie
down on the couch while he told the family what she had
been through that day. Shirley was so happy she almost
cried right there before them all. It was so wonderful to
have some one take care of her that way. Of course it was
only gratitude but she had been taking care of other people
so long that it completely broke her down to have some one
take care of her.
The dinner went much more easily than she had supposed
it could with those cracked plates, and the fork? from which
the silver was all worn off. Doris insisted that the guest sit
next to her and butter her bread for her, and she occasionally
caressed his coat-sleeve with a sticky little hand, but he didn't
seem to mind it in the least, and smiled down on her in quite a
brotherly way, arranging her bib when it got tangled in her
curls, and seeing that she had plenty of jelly on her bread.
It was a beautiful dinner. Mother Hollister had known
what she was about when she selected that particular night to
invite unexpected company. There was stewed chicken on
little round biscuits, with plenty of gravy and currant jelly,
mashed potatoes, green peas, little new beets, and the most
delicious custard pie for dessert, all rich, velvety yellow with
a golden-brown top. The guest ate as if he enjoyed it, and
asked for a second piece of pie, just as if he were one of them.
It was unbelievable I
THE ENCHANTED BARN" 203
He helped clear off the table too, and insisted on Carol's
giving him a wiping-towel to help with the dishes. It was
just like a dream.
The young man tore himself reluctantly away about nine
o'clock and went home, but before he left he took Shirley's
'hand and looked into her eyes with another of those deep
inderstanding glances, and Shirley watched him whirling
away in the moonlight, and wondered if there ever would be
another day as beautiful and exciting and wonderful as this
had been, and whether she could come down to sensible,
every-day living again by morning.
Then there was the story of the day to tell all over again
after he was gone, and put in the little family touches that
had been left out when the guest was there, and there was:
" Oh, did you notice how admiring he looked when he told
mother Shirley had a remarkably keen mind ?" and " He said
his father thought Shirley was the most unspoiled-looking
girl he had ever seen ! " and a lot of other things that Shirley
hadn't heard before.
Shirley told her mother what the senior Mr. Graham had
said about giving her a reward, and her mother agreed that
she had done just right in declining anything for so simple
a service, but she looked after Shirley with a sigh as she
went to put Doris to bed, and wondered if for this service
the poor child was to get a broken heart. It could hardly
be possible that a girl could be given much attention such as
Shirley had received that day, from as attractive a young
man as Graham, without feeling it keenly not to have it con-
tinue. And of course it was out of the question that it should
continue. Mrs. Hollister decided that she had done wrong to
invite the young man to stay to supper, and resolved never
*04 THE ENCHANTED BARN
to offend in that way again. It was a wrong to Shirley to put
him on so intimate a footing in the household, and it could
not but bring her sadness. He was a most unusual young man
to have even wanted to stay, but one must not take that for
more than a passing whim, and Shirley must be protected at
"Now," said the elder Graham the next morning, when
the business of the day was well under way and he had time
to send for his son to come into his office, " now, I want you to
tell me all about that little girl, and what you think we ought
to give her. What did she mean by e obligations 9 yesterday ?
Have you been doing anything for her, son ? I meant to ask
you last night, but you came home so late I couldn't sit up."
And then Sidney Graham told his father the whole story,
It was different from telling his mother. He knew no barn
would have the power to prejudice his father.
"And you say that girl lives in the old barn ! " exclaimed
the father when the story was finished. "Why, the nervy
little kid ! And she looks as if she came out of a bandbox !
Well, she's a bully little girl and no mistake! Well, now,
son, what can we do for her? We ought to do something
pretty nice. You see it wasn't just the money we might
have lost. That would have been a mere trifle beside getting
all those other folks balled up in the mess. Why, I'd have
given every cent I own before I'd have had Fuller and Brown-
ing and Barnard and Wilts get entangled. I tell you, son, it
was a great escape ! "
" Yes, father, and it was a great lesson for me. I'll never
be buncoed as easily again. But about Miss Hollister, I don't
know what to say. She's very proud and sensitive. I had an
awful time doing the little things I just had to do to that barn
THE ENCHANTED BARN 206
without her suspecting I was doing it especially for her.
Father, you ought to go out there and meet the family; then
you'd understand. They're not ordinary people. Their father
was a college professor and wrote things. They're cultured
" Well, I want to meet them. Why don't we go out there
and call to-day? I think they must be worth knowing."
So late that afternoon the father and son rode out to
Glenside, and when Shirley and George reached home they
found the car standing in front of their place, and the
Grahams comfortably seated in the great open doorway,
enjoying the late afternoon breeze, and seemingly perfectly
at home in their own barn.
" I'm not going to swarm here every day, Miss Shirley,"
said the son, rising and coming out to meet her. "You see
father hadn't heard about the transformation of the old barn,
and the minute I told him about it he haa to come right out
and see it."
" Yes," said the father, smiling contentedly, " I had to
come and see what you'd done out here. I've played in the
hay up in that loft many a day in my time, and I love the old
barn. It's great to see it all fixed up so cozy. But we're going
home now and let you have your dinner. We just waited to
say ' Howdy ' to you before we left."
They stayed a few minutes longer, however, and the senior
Granam talked with Shirley while he held Doris on his knee
and stroked her silky hair, and she nestled in his arms quite
Then, although young Graham was quite loath to leave so
soon, they went, for he could not in conscience, expect an
invitation to dinner two days in succession.
806 THE ENCHANTED BARN
They rode away into the sunset, going across country to
their home without going back to town, and Doris, as she
stood with the others watching them away, murmured softly :
" Nice f avver-man ! Nice Gwaham f avver man ! "
The " nice-Graham-father-man " was at that moment re-
marking to his son in very decided tones, as he turned to get
a last glimpse of the old barn :
"That old barn door ought to come down right away,
Sid, and a nice big old-fashioned door with glass around the
sides made to fill the space. That door is an eyesore on the
place, and they need a piazza. People like those can't live
with a great door like that to open and shut every day."
" Yes, father, I've thought of that, but I don't just know
how to manage it. You see they're not objects of charity.
I've been thinking about some way to fix up a heating
arrangement without hurting their feelings, so they could
stay there all winter. I know they hate to go back to the
city, and they're only paying ten dollars a month. It's all
they can afford. What could they get in the city for that ? M
" Great Scott ! A girl like that living in a house she
could get for ten dollars, when some of these feather-brained
baby-dolls we know can't get on with less than three or
four houses that cost from fifty to a hundred thousand dollars
apiece ! Say, son, that's a peach of a girl, do you know it ?
A peach of a girl ! I've been talking with her, and she has a
very superior mind."
" I know she has, father," answered the son humbly.
"I say, Sid, why don't you marry her? That would
solve the whole problem. Then you could fix up the old
barn into a regular house for her folks."
"Well, father, that's just what I've made up my mind
THE ENCHANTED BARN 207
to do if shell have me/' said the son with a gleam of triumph
in his eyes.
" Bully for you, Sid ! Bully for you ! " and the father gave
his son's broad shoulder a resounding slap. " Why, Sid, I
didn't think you had that much sense. Your mother gave
me to understand that you were philandering around with
that dolly-faced Harriet Hale, and I couldn't see what you
saw in her. But if you mean it, son, I'm with you every
time. That girl's a peach, and you couldn't get a finer if you
searched the world over."
"Yes, I'm afraid mother's got her heart set on Harriet
Hale," said the son dubiously, " but I can't see it that way."
" H'm ! Your mother likes show," sighed the father com-
ically, "but she's got a good heart, and she'll bowl over all
right and make the best of it. You know neither your mother
nor I were such high and mighties when we were young, and
we married for love. But now, if you really mean business, I
don't see why we can't do something right away. When does
that girl have her vacation? Of course she gets one some-
time. Why couldn't your mother just invite the whole family
to occupy the shore cottage for a little while, get up some
excuse or other, ask 'em to take care of it? You know it's
lying idle all this summer, and two servants down there
growing fat with nothing to do. We might ship Elizabeth
down there and let 'em be company for her. They seem like
a fine set of children. It would do Elizabeth good to know
" Oh, she's crazy about them. She's been out a number of
times with me, and don't you remember she had Carol out
to stay with her?"
" Was that the black-eyed, sensible girl? Well, I declare!
208 THE ENCHANTED BARN
I didn't recognize her. She was all dolled up out at oui
house. I suppose Elizabeth loaned 'em to her, eh? Well,
I'm glad. She's got sense, too. That's the kind of people I
like my children to know. Now if that vacation could only
be arranged to come when your mother and I take that Western
trip, why, it would be just the thing for Elizabeth, work right
all around. Now, the thing for you to do is to find out about
that vacation, and begin to work things. Then you could
have everything all planned, and rush the work so it would be
done by the time they came back."
So the two conspirators plotted, while all unconscious of
their interest Shirley was trying to get herself in hand and
not thick how Graham's eyes had looked when he said good-
SINCE the pastor from the village had called upon them,
the young people of the stone barn had been identified with
the little white church in the valley. Shirley had taken a
class of boys in the Sunday-school and was playing the organ,
as George had once predicted. Carol was helping the primary
teacher, George was assistant librarian and secretary, Harley
was in Shirley's class, and Doris was one of the primaries.
Shirley had at once identified herself with the struggling
little Christian Endeavor society and was putting new life
into it, with her enthusiasm, her new ideas about getting hold
of the young people of the community, and her wonderful
knack of getting the silent ones to te ke part in the meetings.
She had suggested new committees, had invited the music
committee to meet her at her home some evening to plan out
special music, and to cooperate with the social committee in
planning for music at the socials. She always carried a few
appropriate clippings or neatly written verses or other quota-
tions to meeting to slip into the hands of some who had not
prepared to speak, and she saw to it that her brothers and
sisters were always ready to say something. Withal, she did
her part so unobtrusively that none of the old members could
think she was trying to usurp power or make herself prom-
inent. She became a quiet power behind the powers, to whom
the president and all the other officers came for advice, and
who seemed always ready to help in any work, or to find a
way out of any difficulty. Christian Endeavor in the little
White church at once took great strides after the advent of
210 THE ENCHANTED BARN
the Hollisters, and even the idlers on the street corners were
moved with curiosity to drop into the twilight service of the
young people and see what went on, and why everybody seemed
so interested. But the secret of it all, Shirley thought, was
the little five-minute prayer service that the prayer-meeting
committee held in the tiny primary room just before the
regular meeting. Shirley as chairman of the prayer-meeting
committee had started this little meeting, and she always came
into the larger room with an exalted look upon her face and a
feeling of strength in her heart from this brief speaking with
Shirley was somewhat aghast the next Sabbath to have
Sidney Graham arrive and ask her to take a ride with him.
"Why, I was just going to church," she said, half hesi-
tating, and then smiling bravely up at him ; " besides, I have
a Sunday-school class. I couldn't very well leave them, you
He looked at her for a moment thoughtfully, trying to
bridge in his thoughts this difference between them. Then
he said quite humbly,
" Will you take me with you?"
"To church?" she asked, and there was a glad ring in
her voice. Would he really go to church with her ?
" Yes, and to Sunday School if I may. I haven't been to
Sunday School in years. I'd like to go if you'll only let me."
Her cheeks grew rosy. She had a quick mental picture
of putting him in Deacon Pettigrew's Bible class.
"I'm afraid there isn't any class you would enjoy," she
began with a troubled look. "Ifs only a little country
church, you know. They don't have all the modern system,
and very few teachers."
THE ENCHANTED BARN 211
" I should enjoy going into your class very much if I
" Oh, mine are just boys, just little boys like Harley ! "
said Shirley, aghast.
" I've been a little boy once, you know I should enjoy it
very much," said the applicant with satisfaction.
"Oh, but I couldn't teach you!" There was dismay in
" Couldn't you, though ? You've taught me more in the
few months I've known you 'than I've learned in that many
years from others. Try me. I'll be very good. I'll be a boy
with the rest of them, and you can just forget I'm there and
go ahead. I really am serious about it. I want to hear what
you have to say to them."
" Oh, I couldn't teach with you there I " exclaimed Shirley,
putting her hands on her hot cheeks and looking like a fright-
ened little child. " Indeed I couldn't, really. I'm not much
of a teacher. I'm only a beginner. 1 shouldn't know how
to talk before any but children."
He watched her silently for a minute, his face grave with
"Why do you teach them?" he asked rather irrelevantly.
" Because why, because I want to help them to live right
lives ; I want to teach them how to know God."
"So that they will be saved. Because it was Christ's
command that His disciples should give the message. I am
(Bis disciple, so I have to tell the message."
" Was there any special stipulation as to whom that mes-
sage should be given?" asked the young man thoughtfully.
"Did He say you were just to give it to those boys?"
213 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Why, no ; it was to be given to all the world, every
creature/' Shirley spoke the words hesitatingly, a dimple
beginning to show in her cheek as her eyelids drooped over
her shy eyes.
"And don't I come in on that?" asked Graham, with a
twinkle that reminded Shirley of his father.
Shirley had to laugh shamefacedly then.
"But I couldn't!" said Shirley. "I'd be so scared I
couldn't think of a thing to say."
"You're not afraid of me, Miss Shirley? You wouldn't
be scared if you thought I really needed to know the message,
would you ? Well, I really do, as much as any of those kids."
Shirley looked steadily into his earnest eyes and saw some-
thing there that steadied her nerve. The laughter died out
of her own eyes, and a beautiful light of longing came into
"All right," she said, with a little lift of her chin as if
girding up her strength to the task. "You may come, and
I'll do the best I can, but I'm afraid it will be a poor best.
I've only a little story to tell them this morning."
" Please give them just what you had intended. I want
*lie real thing, just as a boy would get it from you. Will the
rest of them come in the car with us ? "
Shirley was very quiet during the ride to church. She
let the rest do all the talking, and she sat looking off at the
woods and praying for help, trying to calm the flutter of her
frightened heart, trying to steady her nerves and brace her-
self to teach the lesson just as she had intended to teach it.
She watched him furtively during the opening exercises,
the untrained singing, the monotonous prayer of an old
farmer-elder, the dry platitudes of the illiterate superintend-
THE ENCHANTED BARN 218
ent ; but he sat respectfully listening, taking it all for what it
was worth, the best service these people knew how to render
to their Maker.
Somehow her heart had gained the strength she needed
from the prayers she breathed continually, and when the time
for teaching the lesson arrived she came to her class with
There was a little awe upon the boys because of the
stranger in their midst. They did not fling the hymn-books
down with a noisy thud, nor send the lesson leaves flying like
winged darts across the room quite so much as they were
wont to do. They looked askance at Harley, who sat proudly
by the visitor, supplying him with Bibles, hymn-books, lesson
leaves, and finding the place for him officiously. But Graham
eat among the boys without ostentation, and made as little
of his own presence as possible. He smiled at them now and
then, put a handful of silver into the collection envelope when
they would have passed him by, and promised a ride to one
fellow who ventured to ask him hoarsely if that was his car
outside the church.
Shirley had made up her mind to forget as far as she
could the presence of the visitor in the class, and to this
end ehe fixed her eyes upon the worst little boy present,
the boy who got up all the disturbances, and made all the
noises, and was the most adorable, homely, sturdy young imp
the Valley Church could produce. He sat straight across from
her, while Graham was at the side, and she could see in
Jack's eye that he meant mischief if he could overcome his
awe of the stranger. So before Jack could possibly get
started she began her story, and told it straight to Jack,
never taking her eyes from his face from start to finish, and
214 THE ENCHANTED BARN
before she was half-way through she had her little audience
enthralled. It was a story of the Bible told in modern setting,
and told straight to the heart of a boy who was the counter-
part in his own soul of the man whom Christ cured and for-
gave. What Graham was thinking or looking Shirley did
not know. She had literally forgotten his existence after the
first few minutes. She had seen the gleam of interest in the
eyes of the boy Jack; she knew that her message was going
home to a convicted young soul, and that he saw himself
and his own childish sins in the sinful life of the hero of her
tale. Her whole soul was bent on making him see the Saviour
who could make that young life over. Not until the story
was almost finished did any one of the listeners, unless per-
haps Harley, who was used to such story-recitals, have a sus-
picion that the story was just a plain, ordinary chapter out
of the Bible. Then suddenly one of the elder boys broke
forth: "Aw! Gee! That's just the man in the Bible let
down through the roof!" There was a slight stir in the
class at the discovery as it dawned upon them that the teacher
had " put one over on them " again, but the interest for the
most part was sustained breathlessly until the superintend-
ent's bell rang, and the heads drew together in an absorbed
group around her for the last few sentences, spoken in a lower
tone because the general hum of teaching in the room had
Graham's face was very grave and thoughtful as she
finished and slipped away from them to take her place at the
little organ. One could see that it was not in the teacher
alone, but in her message as well, that he was interested.
The boys all had that subdued, half-ashamed, half-defiant
look that boys have when they have been caught looking
THE ENCHANTED BARN 215
ferious. Each boy frowned and studied his toes, or hunted
Assiduously in his hymn-book to hide his confusion, and the
class in various keys lifted up assertive young voices vigor-
ously in the last hymn.
Graham sat beside Shirley in the little crowded church
during the rather monotonous service. The regular pastor,
who was a good, spiritual man if not a brilliant one, and gave
his congregation solid, practical sermons, was on his vaca-
tion, and the pulpit was supplied by a young theologue who
was so new to his work that his sermon was a rather in-
volved effort. But so strong was the power of the Sunday-
school lesson to which he had just listened that Graham felt
as if he were sitting in some hallowed atmosphere. He did
not see the red-faced, embarrassed young preacher, nor notice
his struggles to bring forth his message bravely; he saw only
the earnest-faced young teacher as she spoke the words of
life to her boys ; saw the young imp-faces of her boys softened
a'tid touched by the story she told; saw that she really be-
lieved and felt every word she spoke; and knew that there
^as something in it all that he wanted.
The seat was crowded and the day was warm, but the
two who looked over the same hymn-book did not notice it.
The soft, air came in from the open window beside them,
breathing sweet clover and wild honeysuckle, and the meadow-
larks sang their songs, and made it seem just like a little bit
Shirley's muslin frills trembled against Graham's hand
as she reached to catch a fluttering leaf of the hymn-book
that the wind had caught; once her hand brushed the coat-
sleeve beside her as they turned the page, and she felt the
soft texture of the fine dark blue goods with a pleasant sense
216 THE ENCHANTED BARN
of the beautiful and fitting. It thrilled her to think ha
was standing thus beside her in her own little church, yielding
himself to the same worship with her in the little common
country congregation. It was wonderful, beautiful ! And to
have come to her! She glanced shyly up at him, so hand-
some, standing there singing, his hand almost touching hers
holding the book. He felt her glance and answered it with a
look and smile, their eyes holding each other for just the
fraction of a second in which some inner thought was inter-
changed, some question asked and answered by the invisible*
flash of heart-beats, a mutual joining in the spiritual service,
and then half-frightened Shirley dropped her eyes to the
page and the soft roses stole into her cheeks again. She felt
as if she had seen something in his eyes and acknowledged
it in her own, as if she had inadvertently shown him her
heart in that glance, and that heart of hers was leaping and
bounding with an uncontrollable joy, while her conscience
sought by every effort to get it in control. What nonsense, it
said, what utter folly, to make so much of his coming to
church with her once! To allow her soul to get into such a
flutter over a man who had no more idea of noticing her or
caring for her than he had for a bird on the tree.
And with all the tumult in her heart she did not even
see the envious glances of the village maidens who stared
and stared with all their might at the handsome man who
came to church in an expensive car and brought the girl who
lived in a barn! Shirley's social position went up several
notches, and she never even knew it. In fact, she was be-
coming a great puzzle to the residents of Glenside.
It was good to know that for once the shabby collection-
box of the little church was borne back to the altar laden
THE ENCHANTED BARN 217
with a goodly bill, put in with so little ostentation that one
might have judged it but a penny, looking on, though even a
penny would have made more noise in the unlined wooden box.
After the service was over Graham went out with the
children, while Shirley lingered to play over an accompani-
ment for a girl who was going to sing at the vesper service
that afternoon. He piled all the children in the back seat
of the car, put the boy he had promised a ride in the seat
beside him, took a spin around the streets, and was back in
front of the church by the time Shirley came out. Then that
foolish heart of hers had to leap again at the thought that
he had saved the front seat for her. The boy descended as
if he had been caught up into heaven for a brief space, and
would never forget it the rest of his life.
There was that same steady look of trust and understand-
ing in Graham's eyes whenever he looked at her on the way
home, and once while the children were talking together in
the back seat he leaned toward her and said in a low tone:
" I wonder if you will let me take you away for a little
while this afternoon to a quiet place I know where there is
a beautiful view, and let us sit and talk. There are some
things I want to ask you, about what you said this morning.
I was very much interested in it all, and I'm deeply grateful
that you let me go. Now, will you go with me ? I'll bring you
back in time for the Christian Endeavor service, and you see
'in the meantime I'm inviting myself to dinner. Do you
think your mother will object?"
What was there for Shirley to do but accept this alluring
invitation? She did not believe in going off on pleasure
excursions on the Sabbath, but this request that she ride to a
quiet place out-of-doors for a religious talk could not offend
218 THE ENCHANTED BARN
her strongest sense of what was right on the Sabbath day.
And surely, if the Lord had a message for her to bear, she
must bear it to whomsoever He sent. This, then, was this
man's interest in her, that she had been able to make him
think of God. A glad elation filled her heart, something deep
and true stirred within her and lifted her above the thought of
self, like a blessing from on high. To be asked to bring light
to a soul like this one, this was honor indeed. This was an
answer to her prayer of the morning, that she might fulfil
God's pleasure with the lesson of the day. The message then
had reached his soul. It was enough. She would think no more
Yet whenever she looked at him and met that smile again
she was thrilled with joy in spite of herself. At least there
was a friendliness here beyond the common acquaintance, a
something that was true, deep, lasting, even though worlds
should separate them in the future; a something built on a
deep understanding, sympathy and common interests. Well,
so be it. She would rejoice that it had been given her to know
one man of the world in this beautiful way; and her foolish
little human heart should understand what a high, true thing
this was that must not be misunderstood.
So she reasoned with herself, and watched him during the
dinner, among the children, out in the yard among the flowers
and animals, everywhere, he seemed so fine and splendid, so farj
above all other men that she had ever met. A.nd her mother,
watching, trembled for her when she saw her happy face.
" Do you think you ought to go with him, daughter ? "
she asked with troubled eyes, when they were left alone for a
moment after dinner. "You know it is the Sabbath, and
you know his life is very different from ours."
THE ENCHANTED BARN 219
" Mother, he wants to talk about the Sunday School lesson
this morning," said Shirley shyly. " I guess he is troubled,
perhaps, and wants me to help him. I guess he has never
thought much about religious things."
" Well, daughter dear, be careful. Do all you can for him,
of course, but remember, don't let your heart stray out of
your keeping. He is very attractive, dear, and very uncon-
ventional for a wealthy man. I think he is true and wouldn't
mean to trifle, bat he wouldn't realize."
" I know ; mother ; don't you be afraid for me ! " said
Shirley with a lofty look, half of exultation, half of proud
He took her to a mossy place beside a little stream, where
the light filtered down through the lacy leaves flecking the
bank, and braided golden currents in the water; with green
and purple hazy hills in the distance, and just enough se-
clusion for a talk without being too far away from the
" My little sister says that you people have a ' real '
God," he said, when sne was comfortably fixed with cushions
from the car at her back against a tall tree-trunk. " She
says you seem to realize His presence I don't know just how
to say it, but I'd like to know if this is so. I'd like to know
what makes you different from other girls, and your home
different from most of the homes I know. I'd like to know
if I may have it too."
That was the beginning.
Shirley, shy as a bird at first, having never spoken on
such subjects except to children, yet being well versed in the
Scriptures, and feeling her faith with every atom of her
being, drew out her little Bible that she had slipped vuta
220 THE ENCHANTED BARN
her pocket when they started, and plunged into the great
Never had preacher more earnest listener, or more lovely
temple in which to preach. And if sometimes the young
man's thoughts for a few moments strayed from the subject
to rest his eyes in tenderness upon the lovely face of the
young teacher, and long to draw her into his arms and claim
her for his own, he might well have been forgiven. For
Shirley was very fair, with the light of other worlds in her
face, her eyes all sparkling with her eagerness, her lips aglow
with words that seemed to be given her for the occasion. She
taught him simply, not trying to go into deep arguments,
but urging the only way she knew, the way of taking Christ's
promise on its face value, the way of being willing to do Hifl
will, trusting it to Him to reveal Himself, and the truth of
the doctrine, and make the believer sure.
They talked until the sun sunk low, and the calling of
the wood-birds warned them that the Endeavor hour was
near. Before they left the place he asked her for the little
Bible, and she laid it in his hand with joy that he wanted it,
that she was chosen to give him a gift so precious.
" It is all marked up," she said apologetically. " I always
mark the verses I love, or have had some special experience
"It will be that much more precious to me," he said
gently, fingering the leaves reverently, and then he looked up
and gave her one of those deep looks that seemed to say so
much to her heart. And all at once she realized that she was
on earth once more, and that his presence and his look were
yery precious to her. Her cheeks grew pink with the joy of
it, and she looked down in confusion and could not
THE ENCHANTED BARN
so she rose to her feet. But he, springing at once to help
her up, kept her hand for just an instant with earnest pressure,
and said in deeply moved tones:
" You don't know what you have done for me this after-
noon, my friend!" He waited with her hand in his an in-
stant as if he were going to say more, but had decided it
were better not. The silence was so compelling that she looked
up into his eyes, meeting his smile, and that said so many
things her heart went into a tumult again and could not
quite come to itself all through the Christian Endeavor
On the way home from the church he talked a little about
her vacation: when it came, how long it lasted, what she
would do with it. Just as they reached home he said,
"I hope you will pray for me, my friend!"
There was something wonderful in the way he said that
word " friend." It thrilled her through and through as she
stood beside the road and watched him speed away into the
"My friend! I hope you will pray for me, my friend!"
It sang a glory-song down in her heart as she turned to go in
with the vivid glory of the sunset on her face.
THE cement floor had been down a week and was as hard
\IE a rock, when one day two or three wagon-loads of things
arrived with a note from Graham to Mrs. Hollister to say that
he would be glad if these might be stored in one corner of the
basement floor, where they would oe out of her way and not
take up too much room.
Harley and George went down to look them over that
" He said something about some things being taken from
the office building," said Harley, kicking a pile of iron pipes
with his toe.
" These don't look like any old things that have been
used," said George thoughtfully. " They look perfectly new."
Then he studied them a few minutes more from another
angle, and shut his lips judiciously. He belonged to the
boy species that has learned to "shut up and saw wood/*'
whatever that expression may mean. If anything was to
come out of that pile of iron in the future, he did not mean to
break confidence with anybody's secrets. He walked away
whistling and said nothing further about them.
The next day Mrs. Graham came down upon the Hollisters
in her limousine, and an exquisite toilet of organdie and
ribbons. She was attended by Elizabeth, wild with delight
over getting home again. She begged Mrs. Hollister very
charmingly and sincerely to take care of Elizabeth for three
or four weeks, while she and her husband were away, and to
take her entire family down to the shore and occupy their
THE ENCHANTED BARN
cottage, which had been closed all summer and needed open-
ing and airing. She said that nothing would please Eliza-
beth so much as to have them all her guests during September.
The maids were there, with nothing to do but look after
them, and would just love to serve them; it really would be
a great favor to her if she could know that Elizabeth was
getting a little salt air under such favorable conditions. She
was so genuine in her request and suggested so earnestly that
Shirley and George needed the change during their vacation,
and could just as well come down every night and go up
every morning for a week or two more after the vacations
were over, that Mrs. Hollister actually promised to consider
it and talk it over with Shirley when she came home. Eliza
beth and Carol nearly went into spasms of joy over the
thought of all they could do down at the shore together.
When Shirley came home she found the whole family
quite upset discussing the matter. Carol had brought out
all the family wardrobe and was showing how she could wash
this, and dye that, and turn this skirt upside down, and put
a piece from the old waist in there to make the lower part
flare; and Harley was telling how he could get the man
next door to look after the hens and pigeons, and there was
nothing needing much attention in the garden now, for the
corn was about over except the last picking, which wasn't
Mrs. Hollister was saying that they ought really to stay
at home and look up another place to live during the winter,
and Carol ^vas pleading that another place would be easier
found when the weather was cooler anyway, and that Shirley
was just awfully tired and needed a change.
Shirley's cheeks grew Dink in spite of the headache whict
24 THE ENCHANTED BARN
she had been fighting all day, when she heard of the invita-
tion, and sat down to think it out. Was this, then, another
of the kind schemes of her kind friend to make the way easier
for her? What right had she to take all this? Why was he
doing it? Why were the rest of the family? Did they
really need some one to take care of Elizabeth? But of
course it was a wonderful opportunity, and one that her
mother at least should not let slip by. And Doris! Think
of Doris playing in the sand at the seaside !
Supper was flung onto the table that night any way it
happened, for they were all too excited to know what they
were about. Carol got butter twice and forgot to cut the
bread, and Harley poured milk into the already filled water-
pitcher. They were even too excited to eat.
Graham arrived with Elizabeth early in the evening to
add his pleading to his mother's, and before he left he had
about succeeded in getting Mrs. Hollister's promise that she
Shirley's vacation began the first of September, and
George had asked for his at the same time so that they
could enjoy it together. Each had two weeks. Graham said
that the cost of going back and forth to the city for the two
would be very little. By the next morning they had begun
to say what they would take along, and to plan what they
would do with the dog. It was very exciting. There was only
a week to get ready, and Carol wanted to make bathing-suits
Graham came again that night with more suggestions.
There were plenty of bathing-suits down at the cottage, of
all sizes and kinds. No need to make bathing-suits. The
dog, of course, was to go along. He needed the change as
THE ENCHANTED BARN 223
much as anybody, and they needed him there. That breed oi
dog was a great swimmer. He would take care of the children
when they went in bathing. How would Mrs. Hollister like
to have one of the old Graham servants come over to sleep
at the barn and look after things while they were gone ? The
man had really nothing to do at home while everybody was
away, as the whole corps of servants would be there, and this
one would enjoy coming out to the country. He had a brother
living on a place about a mile away. As for the trip down
there, Graham would love to take them all in the big touring-
car with Elizabeth. He had been intending to take her down
that way, and there was no reason in the world why they
should not all go along. Th^y would star*. Saturday after-
noon as soon as Shirley and George were free, and be down
before bedtime. It would be cool and delightful journeying
at that hour, and a great deal pleasanter than the train.
So one by one the obstructions and hindrances were
removed .from their path, and it was decided that the Hoi-
listers were to go to the seashore.
At last the day came.
Shirley and George went off in the morning shouting
last directions about things. They were always having to
go to their work whatever was happening. It was sometimes
hard on them, particularly this day when everything was so
The old Graham servant arrived about three o'clock in
the afternoon, and proved himself invaluable in doing the
little last things without being told. Mrs. Hollister had her
first gleam of an idea of what it must be to have plenty of
perfectly trained servants about to anticipate one's needs.
He enterpd the barn as if barns were his native heath, and
226 THE ENCHANTED BARN
moved about with the ease and unobtrusiveness that marks
a perfect servant, but with none of the hauteur and disdain
that many of those individuals entertain toward all whom
they consider poor or beneath them in any way. He had a
kindly face, and seemed to understand just exactly what was
to be done. Things somehow moved more smoothly after he
At four o'clock came Graham with the car and a load of
long linen dust-cloaks and veils. The Hollisters donned them
and bestowed themselves where they were told. The servant
stowed away the wraps and suitcases; Star mounted the seat
beside Harley, ^nd they were ready.
They turned to look back at the barn as the car started.
The old servant was having a little trouble with the big door,
trying to shut it. " That door is a nuisance/' said Graham
as they swept away from the curb. " It must be fixed. It ia
no fit door for a barn anyway." Then they curved up around
Allister Avenue and left the barn far out of sight.
They were going across country to the Graham home to
pick up Elizabeth. It was a wonderful experience for them,
that beautiful ride in the late afternoon ; and when they swept
into the great gates, and up the broad drive to the Graham
mansion, and stopped under the porte-cochere, Mrs. Hollister
was quite overcome with the idea of being beholden to people
who lived in such grandeur as this. To think she had
actually invited their son to dine in a barn with her!
Elizabeth came rushing out eagerly, all ready to start, and
climbed in beside Carol. Even George, who was usually
silent when she was about, gave her a grin of welcome. The
father and mother came out to say good-by, gave them good
wishes, and declared they were perfectly happy to leave their
THE ENCHANTED BARN 227
daughter in such good hands. Then the car curved about
the great house, among tennis courts, green-houses, garage,
stable, and what not, and back to the pike again, leaping out
upon the perfect road as if it were as excited as the children.
Two more stops to pick up George, who was getting off
early, and Shirley, who was through at five o'clock, and then
they threaded their way out of the city, across the ferry,
through another city, and out into the open country, dotted
all along the way with clean, pretty little towns.
They reached a lovely grove at sundown and stopped by
the way to have supper. Graham got down and made George
help him get out the big hamper.
There was a most delectable lunch; sandwiches of delicate
and unknown condiments, salad as bewildering, soup that had
been kept hot in a thermos bottle, served in tiny white cups,
iced tea and ice-cream meringues from another thermos com-
partment, and plenty of delicious little cakes, olives, nuts,
bonbons, and fruit. It seemed a wonderful supper to them
all, eaten out there under the trees, with the birds beginning
their vesper songs and the stars peeping out slyly. Then
they packed up their dishes and hurried on their beautiful
way, a silver thread of a moon coming out to make the scene
Doris was almost asleep when at last they began to hear
the booming of the sea and smell the salt breezo as it swept
back inland ; but she roused up and opened wide, mysterious
eyes, peering into the new darkness, and murmuring softly:
" I yant to see ze osun ! I yant to see the gate bid watter ! "
Stiff, bewildered, filled with ecstasy, they finally unloaded
in front of a big white building that looked like a hotel.
They tried to see into the deep, mysterious darkness across the
228 THE ENCHANTED BARN
road, where boomed a great voice that called them, and where
dashing spray loomed high like a waving phantom hand to
beckon them now and again, and far-moving lights told of
ships and a world beyond the one they knew, a wide, limit-
less thing like eternity, universe, chaos.
With half -reluctant feet they turned away from the mys
terious unseen lure and let themselves be led across an un-
believably wide veranda into the bright light of a hall, where
everything was clean and shining, and a great fireplace filled
with friendly flames gave cheer and welcome. The children
stood bewildered in the brightness while two strange serving-
maids unfastened their wraps and dust-cloaks and helped them
take off their hats. Then they all sat around the fire, for
Graham had come in by this time, and the maids brought
trays of some delicious drink with little cakes and crackers,
and tinkling ice, and straws to drink with. Doris almost fell
asleep again, and was carried up-stairs by Shirley and put to
bed in a pretty white crib she was too sleepy to look at, while
Carol, Elizabeth, George, and Harley went with Graham across
the road to look at the black, yawning cavern they called
ocean, and to have the shore light-houses pointed out to them
and named one by one.
They were all asleep at last, a little before midnight, in
spite of the excitement over the spacious rooms, and who
should have which. Think of it ! Thirty rooms in the house,
and every one as pretty as every other one! What luxury!
And nobody to occupy them but themselves! Carol could
hardly get to sleep. She felt as if she had dropped into a
novel and was living it.
When Graham came out of his room the next morning
the salt breeze swept invitingly through the hall and showed
THE ENCHANTED BARN
him the big front door of the upper piazza open and some one
standing in the sunlight, with light, glowing garments, gazing
at the sea in rapt enjoyment. Coming out softly, he saw that
it was Shirley dressed in white, with a ribbon of blue at her
waist and a soft pink color in her cheeks, looking off to sea,
He stood for a moment to enjoy the picture, and said in
his heart that sometime, if he got his wish, he would have her
painted so by some great artist, with just that little simple
white dress and blue ribbon, her round white arm lifted, her
small hand shading her eyes, the sunlight burnishing her
brown hair into gold. He could scarcely refrain from going
to her and telling her how beautiful she was. But when he
stepped quietly up beside her only his eyes spoke, and brought
the color deeper into her cheeks; and so they stood for some
minutes, looking together and drawing in the wonder of
" This is the first time I've ever seen it, you know/' spoke
Shirley at last, " and I'm so glad it was on Sunday morning.
It will always make the day seem more holy and the sea more
wonderful to think about. I like best things to happen on
Sunday, don't you, because that is the best day of all ? "
Graham looked at the sparkling sea all azure and pearls,
realized the Sabbath quiet, and marvelled at the beauty of
the soul of the girl, even as her feeling about it all seemed to
snter into and become a part of himself.
" Yes, I do/' said he. " I never did before, but I do now,
and always shall/' he added under his breath.
That was almost as wonderful a Sabbath as the one they
had spent in the woods a couple of weeks before. They
walked and talked by the sea, and they went to a little Epis-
copal chapel, where the windows stood open for the chanting
230 THE ENCHANTED BARN
of the waves and the salt of the breeze to come in freely, and
then they went out and walked by the sea again. Wherever
they went, whether resting in some of the many big rockers
on the broad verandas or walking on the hard smooth sand*
or sitting in some cozy nook by the waves, they felt the same
deep sympathy, the same conviction that their thoughts were
one, the same wonderful thrill of the day and each other's
Somehow in the new environment Shirley forgot for a
little that this young man was not of her world, that he was
probably going back soon to the city to enter into a whirl of
the winter's season in society, that other girls would claim hia
smiles and attentions, and she would likely be forgotten. She
lost the sense of it entirely and companioned with him as joy-
ously as if there had never been anything to separate them.
Her mother, looking on, sighed, feared, smiled, and sighed again,
They walked together in the sweet darkness beside the
waves that evening, and he told her how when he was a little
boy he wanted to climb up to the stars and find God, but later
how he thought the stars and God were myths like Santa
Glaus, and that the stars were only electric lights put up by
men and lighted from a great switch every night, and when
they didn't shine somebody had forgotten to light them. He
told her many things about himself that he nad never told to
*ny one before, and she opened her shy heart to him, too.
Then they planned what they would do next week when
he came back. He told her he must go back to the city in
the morning to see his father and mother off and attend to a
few matters of business at the office. It might be two or three
days before he could return, but after that he was coming
down to take a little vacation himself if she didn't mind.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 231
and they would do a lot of delightful things together: row,
fish, go crabbing, and he would teach her to swim and show
her all the walks and favorite places where he used to go as a
boy. Eeluctantly they went in, his fingers lingering about
hers for just a second at the door, vibrating those mysterious
heart-strings of hers again, sweeping dearest music from
them, and frightening her with joy that took her half the
night to put down.
SIDNEY GRAHAM went back to the city the next morning.
They all stood out on the piazza to watch the big car glide
away. Doris stood on the railing of the piazza with Shirley's
arm securely about her and waved a little fat hand; then
with a pucker of her lip she demanded:
"Fy does mine Mister Dwaham do way? I don't yanl
him to do way. I yant him to stay wif me aw-ways, don't
Shirley with glowing cheeks turned from watching the
retreating car and put her little sister down on the floor
" Run get your hat, Doris, and we'll take a walk on the
eand ! " she said, smiling alluringly at the child, till the
baby forgot her grievance and beamed out with answering
That was a wonderful day.
They all took a walk on the sand first, George pushing his
mother in a big wheeled chair belonging to the cottage.
Elizabeth was guide and pointed out all the beauties of the
place, telling eager bits of reminiscence from her childhood
memories to which even George listened attentively. From
having been only tolerant of her George had now come to
look upon Elizabeth as "a good scout."
When Mrs. Hollister grew tired they took her back to
the cottage and established her in a big chair with p hook.
Then they all rushed off to the bath-houses and presently
THE ENCHANTED BARN 233
emerged in bathing-suits, Doris looking like a little sprite in
her scarlet flannel scrap of a suit, her bright hair streaming,
and her beautiful baby arms and legs flashing i^ite like a
cherub's in the sunlight.
They came back from their dip in the wave,., hungry and
eager, to the wonderful dinner that was served so exquisitely
in the great cool dining-room, from the windows of which
they could watch the lazy ships sailing in the offing.
Doris fell asleep over her dessert and was tumbled into
the hammock to finish her nap. Carol and Elizabeth and the
boys started off crabbing, and Shirley settled herself in another
hammock with a pile of rew magazines about her and pre-
pared to enjoy a whole afternoon of laziness. It was BO
wonderful to lie still, at leisure and unhurried, with all those
lovely magazines to read, and nothing to disturb her. She
leaned her head back and closed her eyes for a minute just to
listen to the sea, and realize how good it was to be here.
Back in her mind there was a pleasant consciousness of the
beautiful yesterday, and the beautiful to-morrows that might
come when Sidney Graham returned, but she would not let
her heart dwell upon them; that would be humoring herself
too much, and perhaps give her a false idea of things. She
simply would not let this wonderful holiday be spoiled by the
thought that it would have to end some day and that she
would be back at the old routine of care and worry once more.
She was roused from her reverie by the step of the post-
man bringing a single letter, for her !
It was addressed in an unknown hand and was in a fat
long envelope. Wonderingly she opened it and found inside
a bank book and blank check book with a little note on whicb
234 THE ENCHANTED BARN
DEAB LITTLE GIBL:
This is just a trifle of that present we were talking about the
other day that belongs to you. It isn't all by any means, but we'll
pee to the rest later. Spend this on chocolates or chewing-gum or
frills or whatever you like and have a good time down at the shore.
You're a bully little girl and deserve everything nice that's going.
Don't be too serious, Miss Shirley. Play a little more.
Your elderly friend,
WALTER K. GRAHAM.
In the bank book was an entry of five thousand dollars,
on check account. Shirley held her breath and stared at the
figures with wide eyes, then slipped away and locked herself
in the big white room that was hers. Kneeling down by the
bed she cried and prayed and smiled all in one, and thanked
the Lord for making people so kind to her. After that she
went to find her mother.
Mrs. Hollister was sitting on the wide upper piazza in a
steamer chair looking off to sea and drawing in new life at
every breath. Her book was open on her lap, but she had
forgotten to read in the joy of all that was about her. To
tell the truth she was wondering if the dear father who was
gone from them knew of their happy estate, and thinking
how glad he would be for them if he did.
She read the letter twice before she looked at the bank
book with its astonishing figures, and heard again Shirley's
tale of the happening in the office the morning of the arrest.
Then she read the letter once more.
" I'm not just sure, daughter/' she said at last with a
smile, " what we ought to do about this. Are you? "
" No," said Shirley, smiling ; " I suppose I'll give it beck,
/but wasn't it wonderful of him to do it? Isn't it grand that
there are such men in the world ? ? *
THE ENCHANTED BARN 235
"It certainly is, dear, and I'm glad my little girl was
able to do something that was of assistance to him ; and that
she has won her way into his good graces so simply and
sweetly. But Fm not so sure what you ought to do. Hadn't
we better pray about it a bit before you decide? How soon
ought you to write to him ? It's too late to reach him before
he leaves for California, isn't it ? "
"Oh, yes, he's just about starting now," said the girl.
* e Don't you suppose he planned it so that I couldn't answer
right away? I don't know his address. I can't do a thing
till I find out where to write. I wouldn't like to send it to
the office because they would probably think it was business
and his secretary might open it."
" Of course. Then we'll just pray about it, shall we, dear ?
I'm not just sure in my mind whether it's a well-meant bit
of charity that we ought to hand back with sincere thanks,
or whether it's God's way of rewarding my little girl for her
faithfulness and quickness of action. Our Father knows we
have been and still are in a hard place. He knows that
we have need of 'all these things' that money has to buy.
You really did a good thing and saved Mr. Graham from
great loss, you know, and perhaps he is the kind of man who
would feel a great deal happier if he shared a little of it
with you, was able to make some return for what you did
for him. However, five thousand dollars is a great deal of
money for a brief service. What do you think, dear?"
" I don't know, mother dear. I'm all muddled just as
you say, but I guess it will come right if we pray about it.
Anyhow, I'm going to be happy over his thinking of me,
whether I keep it or not."
Shirley went thoughtfully back to her hammock and her
336 THE ENCHANTED BARN
magazines, a smile on her lips, a dream in her eyes. She
found herself wondering whether Sidney Graham knew about
this money and what he would wish her to do about it. Then
suddenly she cast the whole question from her and plunged
into her magazine, wondering why it was that almost any
question that came into her mind promptly got around and
entangled itself with Mr. Sidney Graham. What did he
have to do with it, anyway?
The magazine story was very interesting and Shirley soon
forgot everything else in the pleasure of surrendering herself
io the printed page. An hour went by, another passed, and
Shirley was still oblivious to all about her. Suddenly she
became aware of a boy on a bicycle, riding almost up to the
very steps, and whistling vigorously.
" Miss Shirley Hollister here ?" he demanded as he alighted
on one foot on the lower step, the other foot poised for flight
as soon as his errand should have been performed.
" Why, yes/' said Shirley, startled, struggling to her feet
and letting a shower of magazines fall all about her.
" Long distance wants yer," he announced, looking her over
aj^athetically. " Mr. Barnard, of Philadelphia, wants to talk
to yer ! " and with the final word chanted nasally he alighted
upon his obedient steed and spun away down the walk again.
"But, wait! Where shall I go? Where is the telephone ?"
< Pay station ! " shouted the impervious child, turning his
head over his shoulder, " Drug store ! Two blocks from the
Without waiting to go upstairs Shirley, whose trailing
had been to answer the telephone at once, caught up Eliza-
beth's parasol that lay on a settee by the door, rumpled her
fingers through her hair by way of toilet and hurried down
THE ENCHANTED BARN 237
the steps in the direction the boy had disappeared, wonder-
ing what in the world Mr. Barnard could want of her ? Was
he going to call her back from her vacation ? Was this per-
haps the only day she would have, this and yesterday ? There
would always be yesterday! With a sigh she looked wist-
fully at the sea. If she had only known a summons was to
come so soon she would not have wasted a second on maga-
zines. She would have sat and gazed all the afternoon at
the sea. If Mr. Barnard wanted her, of course she would
have to go. Business was business and she couldn't afford
to lose her job even with that fairy dream of five thousand
to her credit in the bank. She knew, of course, she meant to
give that back. It was hers for the day, but it could not
become tangible. It was beautiful, but it was right that it
must go back, and if her employer felt he must cut short her
vacation why of course she must acquiesce and just be glad
she had had this much. Perhaps it was just as well, any-
way, for if Sidney Graham came down and spent a few days
there was no knowing what foolish notions her heart would
take, jumping and careening the way it had been doing lately
when he just looked at her. Yes, she would go back if
Mr. Barnard wanted her. It was the best thing she could do.
Though perhaps he would only be calling her to ask where
she had left something for which they were searching. That
stupid Ashton girl who took her place might not have
remembered all her directions.
Breathless, with possibilities crowding upon her mind,
she hurried into the drug store and sought the telephone
booth. It seemed ages before the connection was made and
she heard Mr. Barnard's dry familiar tones over the phone:
" That you, Miss Hollister? This is Mr. Barnard. I'm
238 THE ENCHANTED BARN
sorry to disturb you right in the midst of your holiday, but a
matter has come up that is rather serious and I'm wondering
if you could help us out for a day or two. If you would we'd
be glad to give you fifty dollars for the extra time, and let
you extend your vacation to a month instead of two weeks.
Do you think you could spare a day or two to help us right
" Oh ! Why, yes, of course ! " faltered Shirley, her eyes
dancing at the thought of the extra vacation and money.
" Thank you ! " I was sure you would," said Mr. Barnard,
with relief in his voice. You see we have got that Govern-
ment contract. The news just came in the afternoon mail.
It's rather particular business because it has to do with
matters that the Government wishes to keep secret. I am
to go down to-morrow morning to Washington to receive in-
structions, and I have permission to bring a trusted private
secretary with me. Now you know, of course, that I couldn't
take Miss Ashton. She wouldn't be able to do what I want
done even if she were one I could trust not to say a word
about the matter. I would take Jim Thorpe, but his father
has just died and I can't very well ask him to leave. Neither
can I delay longer than to-morrow. Now the question is,
would you be willing to go to Washington in the morning?
I have looked up the trains and I find you can leave the
shore at 8.10 and meet me in Baltimore at ten o'clock. I will
be waiting for you at the train gate, but in case we miss each
other wait in the station, close to the telephone booths, till
I find you. We will take the next train for Washington and
be there a little before noon. If all goes well we ought to
be through our business in plenty of time to make a four
o'clock train home. Of course there may be delays, and it i*
THE ENCHANTED BARN 239
quite possible you might have to remain in Washington over
night, though I hardly think so. But in case you do I will
see that you are safe and comfortable in a quiet hotel neai-
the station where my wife's sister is staying this summer.
Of course your expenses will all be paid. I will telegraph
and have a mileage book put at your disposal that you can
call for right there in your station in the morning. Are you
willing to undertake this for us? I assure you we shall not
forget the service."
When Shirley finally hung up the receiver and looked
about the little country drug store in wonder at herself the
very bottles on the shelves seemed to be whirling and dancing
about before her eyes. What strange exciting things were
happening to her all in such breathless haste ! Only one day
at the shore and a piece of another, and here she was with a
trip to Washington on her hands ! It certainly was bewilder-
ing to have things come in such rapid succession. She wished
it had come at another time, and not just now when she
had not yet got used to the great sea and the wonder of the
beautiful place where they were staying. She did not want to
be interrupted just yet. It would not be quite the same when
she got back to it she was afraid. But of course she could
not refuse. It never entered her head to refuse. She knew
enough about the office to realize that Mr. Barnard must have
her. Jimmie Thorpe would have been the one to go if he were
available, because he was a man and had been with Barnard
and Clegg for ten years and knew all their most confidential
business, but of course Jimmie could not go with his father
lying dead and his mother and invalid sister needing him ; and
there was no one else but herself.
She thought it all out on the way back to the cottage^
240 THE ENCHANTED BARN
with a little pang at the thought of losing the next day and
of having perhaps to stay over in Washington a day and maybe
miss the arrival of Sidney Graham, if he should come in a
day or two, as he had promised. He might even come and go
back again before she was able to return, and perhaps he
would think her ungrateful to leave when he had been so kind
to plan all this lovely vacation for her pleasure. Then she
brought herself up smartly and told herself decidedly that it
was nothing to him whether she was there or not, and it
certainly had no right to be anything to her. It was a good
thing she was going, and would probably be a good thing for
all concerned if she stayed until he went back to the city
With this firm determination she hurried up to the veranda
where her mother sat with Doris, and told her story.
Mrs. Hollister looked troubled.
"I'm sorry you gave him an answer, Shirley, without
waiting to talk it over with me. I don't believe I like the
idea of your going to a strange city, all alone that way. Of
course Mr. Barnard will look after you in a way, but still he's
a good deal of a stranger. I do wish he had let you alone
for your vacation. It seems as if he might have found some-
body else to go. I wish Mr. Graham was here. I shouldn't
wonder if he would suggest some way out of it for you."
But Shirley stiffened into dignity at once.
"Keally, mother dear, I'm sure I don't see what Mr,
Graham would have to say about it if he were here. I
shouldn't ask his advice. You see, mother, realty, there isn't
anybody else that could do this but Jimmie Thorpe, and he's
out of the question. It would be unthinkable that I should
refuse in this emergency. And you know Mr. Barnard haft
THE ENCHANTED BARN 241
been very kind. Besides, think of the ducky vacation I'll
have afterward, a whole month ! And all that extra money !
That shall go to the rent of a bet jer house for winter ! Think
of it! Don't you worry, mother dear! There isn't a thing
in the world could happen to me. I'll be the very most-
discreetest person you ever heard of. Fll even glance shyly
at the White House and Capitol ! Come, lef s go up and get
dolled up for supper ! Won't the children be surprised when
they hear I'm really to go to Washington ! I'm so excited
I don't know what to do ! "
Mrs. Hollister said no more, and entered pleasantly into
the merry talk at the table, telling Shirley what she must be
sure to see at the nation's capital. But the next morning
just as Shirley was about to leave for the station, escorted by
all the children, Mrs. Hollister came with a package of
addressed postal cards which she had made George get for
her the night before, and put them in Shirley's bag.
"Just drop us a line as you go along, dear," she said.
" I'll feel happier about it to be hearing from you. Mail one
whenever you have a chance."
Shirley laughed as she looked at the fat package.
"All those, mother dear? You must expect I am going
to stay a month! You know I won't have much time for
writing, and I fully expect to be back to-night or to-morrow
at the latest."
"Well, that's all right," said her mother. "You can
use them another time, then; but you can just put a line on
one whenever it is convenient. I shall enjoy getting them
even after you get back. You know this is your first journey
out into the world alone."
Shirley stooped to kiss the little mother,
THE ENCHANTED BARN
"All right, dear ! I'll write you a serial story. Each ona
continued in our next. Good-by! Don't take too long a
walk to-day. I want you rested to hear all I'll have to tell
when I get back to-night ! "
Shirley wrote the first postal card as soon as she was
settled in the train, describing the other occupants of the car,
and making a vivid picture of the landscape that was slipping
by her windows. She wrote the second in the Baltimore
station, after she had met Mr. Barnard, while he went to get
seats in the parlor car, and she mailed them both at Baltimore.
The third was written as they neared Washington, with
the dim vision of the great monument dawning on her won-
dering sight in the distance. Her last sentence gave her first
impression of the nation's capital.
They had eaten lunch in the dining car, a wonderful
experience to the girl, and she promised herself another
postal devoted to that, but there was no time to write more
after they reached Washington. She was put into a taxi and
whirled away to an office where her work began. She caught
glimpses of great buildings on the way, and gazed with awe
at the dome of the Capitol building. Mr. Barnard was kind
and pointed out this and that, but it was plain his mind was
on the coming interview. When Shirley sat at last in a quiet
corner of a big dark office, her pen poised, her note-book
ready for work, and looked at the serious faces of the men in
the room, she felt as if she had been rushed through a
treasure vault of glorious jewels and thrust into the darkness
of a tomb. But presently the talk about her interested her.
Things were being said about the vital interests of the
country, scraps of sentences that reminded her of ihe trend
*vf talk in the daily papers, and the headings o* front columns.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 243
[She looked about her with interest and noted the familiarity
with which these men quoted the words of those high up in
authority in the government. With awe she began her work,
taking down whatever Mr. Barnard dictated, her fingers fly-
ing over the tiny pages of the note-book, in small neat char-
acters, keeping pace with the voices going on abeut her. The
detail work she was setting down was not of especial interest
to her, save that it was concerned with Government work,
for its phraseology was familiar and a part of her daily
routine office work at home ; but she set every sense on the alert
to get the tiniest detail and not to make the smallest mistake,
understanding from the voices of the men about her that
it was of vital interest to the country that this order should
be filled quickly and accurately. As she capped her fountain
pen, and slipped the rubber band on her note-book when it
was over, she heard one of the men just behind her say in a
low tone to Mr. Barnard:
" You're sure of your secretary of course ? I just want to
give you the tip that this thing is being very closely watched.
We have reason to believe there's some spying planned. Keep
your notes carefully and don't let too many in on this. We
know pretty well what's going on, but it's not desirable just
now to make any arrests until we can watch a little longer
and round up the whole party. So keep your eyes peeled, and
" Oh, certainly ! I quite understand/' said Mr. Barnard,
" and I have a most discreet secretary," and he glanced with
a significant smile toward Shirley as she rose.
" Of course ! " said the other. " She looks it," and he
bowed deferentially to Shirley as she passed.
She did not think of it at the time, but afterwards she
44 THE ENCHANTED BARN
recalled how in acknowledging his courtesy she had stepped
back a little and almost stumbled over a page, a boy about
George's age, who had been standing withdrawn into the
shadow of the deep window. She remembered he had a keen
intelligent look, and had apologized and vanished immediately.
A moment later it seemed to be the same boy in blue clothes
and gilt buttons who held the outer door open for them to
pass out or was this a taller one ? She glanced again at his
side face with a lingering thought of George as she paused
to fasten her glove and slip her note-book into her hand-bag.
" I think I will put you into the taxi and let you go right
back to the station while I attend *o another errand over at
the War Department. It won't take me long. We can easily
catch that four-o'clock train back. I suppose you are anxious
to get back to-night ? "
" Oh, yes," said Shirley earnestly, " I must, if possible.
Mother isn't well and she worries so easily."
" Well, I don't know why we can't. Then perhaps you can
come up to town to-morrow and type those notes for us. By
the way, I guess it would be better for me to take them
and lock them in the safe to-night. No, don't stop to get
them out now" as Shirley began to unfasten her bag and
get the note-book out " We haven't much time if we want to
catch that train. Just look after them carefully and I'll get
them when we are on the train."
He helped her into the taxi, gave the order, " To th*
station," and touching his hat, went rapidly over to the Wai
Department Building. No one saw a boy with a blue cap and
brass buttons steal forth on a bicycle from the court just
below the office, and circling about the asphalt uncertainly
for a moment, shoot off across the park.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 245
Shirley sat up very straight and kept her eyes about her.
She was glad they were taking another way to the station so
that she might see more. When she got there she would
write another postal and perhaps it would go on the same
train with her.
It was all too short, that ride up Pennsylvania Avenue and
around by the Capitol. Shirley gathered up ^er bag and
prepared to get out reluctantly. She wished she might have
just one more hour to go about, but of course that would be
impossible if she wished to reach home to-night.
But before the driver of the car could get down and open
the door for her to get out a boy with a bicycle slid up to
the curb and touching his gilt-buttoned cap respectfully said :
" Excuse me, Miss, but Mr. Barnard sent me after you.
He says there's been some mistake and you'll have to come
back and get it corrected."
" Oh ! " said Shirley, too surprised to think for a minute.
" Oh ! Then please hurry, for Mr. Barnard wants to get back
in time to get that four-o'clock train."
The driver frowned, but the boy stepped up and handed
him something, saying:
"That's all right, Joe, he sent you this." The driver's
face cleared and he started his machine again. The boy
vanished into the throng. It was another of Shirley's after-
memories that she had caught a glimpse of a scrap of paper
along with the money the boy had handed the driver, and
that he had stuffed it in his pocket after looking intently at
it; but at the time she thought nothing of it. She was only
glad that they were skimming along rapidly.
SHIRLEY'S sense of direction had always been keen. Even
as a child she could tell her way home when others were lost.
It was some minutes, however, before she suddenly became
aware tha 4 -. the Car was being driven in an entirely different
direction from the place she had just left Mr. Barnard. For
a moment she looked around puzzled, thinking the man was
merely taking another way around, but a glance back where
the white dome of the Capitol loomed, palace-like, above the
city, made her sure that something was wrong. She looked
j,t the buildings they were passing, at the names of the streets
F Street they had not been on that before! These stores
tnd tall buildings were all new to her eyes. Down there at
the end of the vista was a great building all columns. Was
that the Treasury and were they merely seeing it from
another angle? It was all very confusing, but the time was
short, why had the man not taken the shorter way ?
She looked at her small wrist watch anxiously and watched
eagerly for the end of the street. But before the great build-
ing was reached the car suddenly curved around a corner to
the right, one block, a turn to the left, another turn,
a confusion of new names and streets ! New York Avenue I
Connecticut Avenue! Thomas Circle! The names spun by
BO fast she could read but few of them, and those she saw she
wanted to remember that she might weave them into her next
postal. She opened her bag, fumbJed for her little silver
pencil in the pocket of her coat and scribbled down the names
he could read as she passed, on the back of the bundle o"
THE ENCHANTED BARN
postal cards, and without looking at her writing. She did
not wish to miss a single sight. Here were rows of homes,
pleasant and palatial, some of them even cozy The broad
avenues were enchanting, the park spaces, the lavish scat-
tering of noble statues. But the time was hastening by and
they were going farther and farther from the station and
from the direction of the offices where she had been. She
twisted her neck once more and the Capitol dome loomed soft
and blended in the distance. A thought of alarm leaped into
her mind. She baned forward and spoke to the driver:
" You understood, didn't you, that I am to return to the
office where you took me with the gentleman ? "
The man nodded.
"All right, lady. Yes, lady ! " And the car rushed on,
leaping out upon the beautiful way and disclosing new beauties
ahead. For a few minutes more Shirley was distracted from
her anxiety in wondering whether the great buildings on her
right belonged to any of the embassies or not. And then as
the car swerved aiid plunged into another street and darted
into a less thickly populated district, with trees and vacant
lots almost like the country, alarm arose once more and she
looked wildly back and tried to see the sign* but they were
going faster still now upon a wide empty road past stretches
of park, with winding drives and charming views, and a great
stone bridge to the right, arching over a deep ravine below, a
railroad crossing it. There were deer parks fenced with high
wire, and filled with the pretty creatures. Everything went by so
fast that Shirley hardly realized that something really must be
wrong before she seemed to be in the midst of a strange world
" I am sure you have made a mistake ! " The ffirl's clear
248 THE ENCHANTED BARN
voice cut through the driving wind as they rushed along. u 1
must go back right away to that office from which you brought
me. I must ^o at once or I shall be too late for my train !
The gentleman will be very angry ! " She spoke in the tone
that always brought instant obedience from the employees
around the office building at home.
But the driver was stolid. He scarcely stirred in his seat
to turn toward her. His thick voice was brought back to her
on the breeze:
"No, lady, it's all right, lady! I hal my orders, lady!
You needn't to worry. I get you there plenty time."
A wild fear seized Shirley, and her heart lifted itself as
was its habit, to God. " Oh, my Father ! Take care of me I
Help me ! Show me what to do ! " she cried.
Thoughts rushed through her brain as fast as the car
rushed over the ground. What was she up against? Was
this man crazy or bad? Was he perhaps trying to kidnap
her? What for? She shuddered to look the thought in the
face. Or was it the notes ? She remembered the men in the
office and what they had said about keeping still and " spying-
enemies." But nerhaps she was mistaken. Maybe this man
was only stupia, and it would all come out right in a few
minutes. But no, she must not wait for anything like that.
She must take no chance. The notes were in her keeping.
She must put them where they would be safe. No telling how
soon she would be overpowered and searched if that was what
they were after. She must hide them, and she must think of
some way to send word to Mr. Barnard before it was too late.
No telling what moment they would turn from the main road
and she be hidden far from human habitation. She must
work fast. What could she do ? Scream to the next passer-by ?
THE ENCHANTED BARN 249
No, for the car was going too fast for that to do any good, and
the nouses up this way seemed all to be isolated, and few
people about. There were houses on ahead beyond the park.
She must have something ready to throw out when they came
to them. " Oh God ! Help me think what to do ! " she prayed
again, and then looking down at her bag she saw the postal
cards. Just the thing! Quickly she scribbled, still holding
her hand within the bag so that her movements were not
" Help ! Quick ! Being carried off ! Auto I Connecticut
Ave. ! Park. Deer. Stone bridge. Phone Mr. Clegg. Don't
tell mother! Shirley/'
She turned the card over, drew a line through her mother'i
name and wrote Carol's in its place. Stealthily she slipped
the card up her sleeve, dropped her hand carelessly over the
side of the car for a moment, let the card flutter from her
fingers, and wrote another.
She had written three cards and dropped them in front of
houses before it suddenly occurred to her that even if these
cards should be picked up and mailed it would be sometime
before they reached their destination and far too late for help
to reach her in time. Her heart suddenly went down in a
swooning sickness and her breath almost went from her. Her
head was reeling, and all the time she was trying to tell her-
self that she was exaggerating this thing, that probably the
man would slow up or something and it would all be ex-
plained. Yes, he was slowing up, but for what? It was in
another lonely spot, and out from the bushes there appeared,
as if by magic, another man, a queer-looking man with a
heavy mustache that looked as if it didL't belong to him. He
stood alertly waiting for the car and sprang into the front seat
350 THE ENCHANTED BARN
without waiting for it to stop, or even glancing back at her,
and the car shot forward again with great leaps.
Shirley dropped out the two cards together that she had
just written and leaned forward, touching the newcomer on
" Won't you please make this driver understand that he is
taking me to the wrong place ? " she said with a pleasant
smile. " I must get back to an office two or three blocks away
from the Treasury Building somewhere. I must turn back
at once or I shall miss my appointment and be late for my
train. It is quite important. Tell him, please, I will pay
him well if he will get me back at once."
The stranger turned with an oily smile.
"That's all right, Miss. He isn't making any mistake.
We're taking you right to Secretary Baker's country home.
He sent for your man, Mr. What's his name ? I forget.
Barnard? Oh, yes. He sent for Mr. Barnard to come out
there, sent his private car down for him ; and Mr. Barnard, hs
left orders we should go after you and bring you along. It's
something they want to change in those notes you was taking.
There was a mistake, and the Secretary he wanted to look
after the matter himself/'
Shirley sat back with a sudden feeling of weakness and a
fear she might faint, although she had never done such a
tiling in her life. She was not deceived for an instant now,
although she saw at once that she must not let the man know
it. The idea that Secretary Baker would pause in the midst
of his multiplicity of duties to look into the details of a small
article of manufacture was ridiculous! It was equally im-
possible that Mr. Barnard would have sent strangers after her
and let her be carried off in this queer way. He had been most
THE ENCHANTED BARN 251
particular that she should be looked after carefully. She was
horribly to blame that she had allowed herself to be carried
back at all until Mr. Barnard himself appeared ; and yet, was
she? That surely had been the page from the office who
came with the message? Well, never mind, she was in for
it now, and she must do her best while there was any chance
to do anything. She must drop all those postals somehow,
and she must hide those notes somewhere, and perhaps write
some others, fake ones. What should she do first ?
"Father, help me! Show me! Oh, don't let me lose
the notes ! Please take care of me ! " Again and again her
heart prayed as her hand worked stealthily in her bag, while
she tried to put a pleasant smile upon her face and pretend
she was still deceived, leaning forward and speaking to the
strange man once more:
"Is Secretary Baker's home much farther from here?'*
she asked, feeling her lips draw stiffly in the frozen smile she
forced. " Will it take long ? "
" 'Bout ten minutes ! " the man answered graciously, with
a peculiar look toward the driver. " Nice view 'round here ! "
he added affably with a leering look of admiration toward her.
Shirley's heart stood still with new fear, but she managed
to make her white lips smile again and murmur, "Charming !"
Then she leaned back again and fussed around in her bag,
ostentatiously bringing out a clean handkerchief, though she
really had been detaching the pages which contained the notes
from her loose-leaf note-book. There were not many of them,
for she always wrote closely in small characters. But where
should she hide them? Pull the lining away from the edge
of her bag and slip them Inside? No, for the bag would be
the first place they would likely search, and she could not f
THE ENCHANTED BARN
poke the lining back smoothly so it would not show. If she
should try to drop the tiny pages down her neck inside her
blouse, the men would very likely see her. Dared she try to
slip the leaves down under the linen robe that lay over her
lap and put them inside her shoe? She was wearing plain
little black pumps, and the pages would easily go in the soles,
three or four in each. Once in they would be well hidden,
and they would not rattle and give notice of their presence;
but oh, what a terrible risk if anything should happen to
knock off her shoe, or if they should try to search her ! Still
she must take some risk and this was the safest risk at hand.
She must try it and then write out some fake notes, giving
false numbers and sizes, and other phraseology. Or stay*
Wasn't there already something written in that book that
would answer? Some specifications she had written down
for the Tillman-Brooks Company. Yes, she was sure. It
wasn't at all for the same articles, nor the same measurements,
but only an expert would know that. She leaned down quite
naturally to pick up her handkerchief and deftly managed tc
get five small leaves slipped into her right shoe. It occurred
to her that she must keep her keepers deceived, so she asked
once more in gracious tones :
" Would it trouble you any to mail a card for me as soon
as possible after we arrive? I am afraid my mother will be
worried about my delay and she isn't well. I suppose they
have a post office out this way."
" Sure, Miss ! " said the man again, with another leering
smile that made her resolve to have no further conversation
than was absolutely necessary. She took out her fountain
pen and hurriedly wrote:
"Detained longer than I expected. May not get back
THE ENCHANTED BARN 253
S. H.," and handed the card to the man. He took
it and turned it over, all too evidently reading it, and put it
in his pocket. Shirley felt that she had made an impression
of innocence by the move which so far was good. She put
away her fountain pen deliberately, and managed in so doing
to manipulate the rest of the leaves of notes into her left
shoe. Somehow that gave her a little confidence and she sat
back and began to wonder if there was anything more she
could do. Those dropped postals were worse than useless,
of course. Why had she not written an appeal to whoever
picked them up ? Suiting the action to the thought she wrote
another postal card her stock was getting low, there were
but two more left.
" For Christ's sake send the police to he^ me ! I ain
being carried off by two strange men ! Shirley Hollister."
She marked out the address on the other side and wrote :
" To whoever picks this up/' She fluttered it to the breeze
cautiously ; but her heart sank as she realized how little likeli-
hood there was of its being picked up for days perhaps. For
who would stop in a car to notice a bit of paper on the road ?
And there seemed to be but few pedestrians. If she only had
something larger, more attractive. She glanced at her belong-
ings and suddenly remembered the book she had brought with
her to read, one of the new novels from the cottage, a goodly
sized volume in a bright red cover. The very thing!
With a cautious glance at her keepers she took up the book
as if to read, and opening it at the flyleaf began to write sur-
reptitiously much the same message that had been on her last
postal, signing her name and home address and giving her
employers' address. Her heart was beating wildly when she
had finished. She was trying to think just how she should
S54 THE ENCHANTED BARN
use this last bit of ammunition to the best advantage. Should
she just drop it in the road quietly ? If only there were some
way to fasten the pages open so her message would be read!
Her handkerchief ! Of course ! She folded it cornerwise and
slipped it in across the pages so that the book would fall open
at the fly leaf, knotting the ends on the back of the cover.
Every moment had to be cautious, and she must remember
to keep her attitude of reading with the printed pages cover-
ing the handkerchief. It seemed hours that it took her, her
fingers trembled so. If it had not been for the rushing noise
of wind and car she would not have dared so much undis-
covered, but apparently her captors were satisfied that she
still believed their story about going to Secretary Baker's
country house, for they seemed mainly occupied in watching
to see if they were pursued, casting anxious glances back now
and tnen, but scarcely noticing her at all.
Shirley had noticed two or three times when a car had
passed them that the men both leaned down to do something
at their feet to the machinery of the car. Were they afraid
of being recognized? Would this perhaps give her a chance
to fling her book out where it would be seen by people in an
oncoming car ? Oh, if she but had the strength and skill to
fling it into a car. But of course that was impossible without
attracting the attention of the two men. Nevertheless, she
must try what she could do.
She lifted her eyes to the road ahead and lo, a big car was
bearing down upon them ! She had almost despaired of meet-
ing any more, for the road was growing more and more lonely
and they must have come many miles. As soon as the two
men in front of her sighted the car, they seemed to settle in
their Beats and draw their hats down, a little farther over then
THE ENCHANTED BARN 255
yes. The same trouble seemed to develop with the machinery
at their feet that Shirley had noticed before, and they bobbed
and ducked and seemed to be wholly engrossed with their own
Shirley's heart was beating so fast that it seemed as though
it would suffocate her, and her hand seemed powerless as it
lay innocently holding the closed book with the knotted
handkerchief turned down out of sight; but she was girding
herself, nerving herself for one great last effort, and praying
to be guided.
The big car came on swiftly and was about to pass, when
Shirley half rose and hurled her book straight at it and then
sank back in her seat with a fearful terror upon her, closing
her eyes for one brief second, not daring to watch the results
of her act, if there were to be any results.
The men in the front seat suddenly straightened up antf
"What's the matter?" growled the man who had got in
last in quite a different tone from any he had used before
* c What you tryin' to put over on us ? "
Shirley gasped and caught at her self-control.
"I've dropped my book," she stammered out wildly-
"Could you stop long enough to pick it up? It was bor-
rowed ! " she ended sweetly as if by inspiration, and wonder-
ing at the steadiness of her tone when blood was pounding so
in her throat and ears, and everything was black before her.
Perhaps oh, perhaps they would stop and she could cry out
to the people for help.
The man rose up in his seat and looked back. Shirley casl
one frightened glance back, too, and saw in that brief second
that the other car had stopped and someone was standing up
aiu? looking back.
THE ENCHANTED BARN
te Hell ! No ! >f said her captor briefly, ducking down in
nis seat. "Let her out!" he howled to the driver, and the
car broke into a galloping streak, the wheels hardly seeming
to touch the ground, the tonneau bounding and swaying this
way and that. Shirley had all she could do to keep in her
Beat. At one moment she thought how easy it would be to
spring from the car and lie in a little still heap at the road-
jide. But there were the notes ! She must not abandon her
trust even for so fearful an escape from her captors. Suddenly,
without warning, they turned a sharp curve and struck into a
rough, almost unbroken road into the woods, and the thick
growth seemed to close in behind them and shut them out
from the world.
Shirley shut her eye*
THE next trolley that passed the old barn after the Hol
listers had left brought a maid servant and a man servant
from the Graham place. The other old servant met them,
and together the three went to work. They had brought with
them a lot of large dust-covers and floor-spreads such as are
used by housemaids in cleaning a room, and with these they
now proceeded to cover all the large pieces of furniture in the
place. In a very short space of time the rugs and bits of
carpet were carefully rolled up, the furniture piled in small
compass in the middle of the rooms, and everything enveloped
in thick coverings. The curtains, bric-a-brac, and even the
dishes were put away carefully, and the whole big, inviting
home was suddenly denuded. The clothes from the calico-
curtained clothes-presses were folded and laid in drawers,
and everything made perfectly safe for a lot of workmen to
come into the house. Even the hay-loft bedrooms shared iiv
this process. Only a cot was left for the old servant and a few
necessary things for him to use, and most of these he trans-
ported to the basement out of the way. When the work was
done the man and maid took the trolley back home again and
the other old man servant arranged to make his Sabbath as
pleasant as possible in the company of his brother from the
Monday morning promptly at eight o'clock the trolley,
landed a bevy of workmen, carpenters, plasterers, plumbers,
and furnace men, with a foreman who set them all at work
as if it were a puzzle he had studied out and memorized the
solution. In a short time the quiet spot was full of sound,
258 THE ENCHANTED BARN
the symphony of industry, the rhythm of toil. Some mem
were working away with the furnace that had been stored in
the cellar; others were measuring, fitting, cutting holes for
lead pipes; still others were sawing away at the roof, making
great gashes in its mossy extent; and two men were busj
taking down the old barn door. Out in front more men were
building a vat for mortar, and opening bags of lime and sand
that began to arrive. Three men with curious aprons made of
ticking, filled with thin wire nails, were frantically putting
laths on the uprights that the carpenters had already set up,
and stabbing them with nails from a seemingly inexhaustible
supply in their mouths. It was as if they had all engaged to
build the tower of Babel in a day, and meant to win a prize
at it. Such sounds ! Such shoutings, such hangings, thump-
ings, and harsh, raucous noises ! The bird in the tall tree
looked and shivered, thankful that her brood were well away
on their wings before all this cataclysm came to pass.
Presently arrived a load of sashes, doors, and wooden
frames, and another load of lumber. Things can be done in a
hurry if you have money and influence and the will to insist
upon what you want. Before night there was a good start
made toward big changes in the old barn.
Plumbers and gas-fitters and men who were putting in the
hot-water heat chased one another around the place, each
Inan seeking to get his pipes in place before the lathers got to
that spot; and the contractor was everywhere, proving his
right to be selected for this rush job. As soon as the lathers
had finished with a room the plasterers took possession, and
the old door was rapidly being replaced with a great glazed
Hoor set in a frame of more sashes, so that the old darkness
THE ENCHANTED BARN 259
In the roof big dormer windows were taking the place of
the two or three little eyebrow affairs that had given air to
the hay heretofore, and the loft was i'ast becoming pleasanter
than the floor below.
Outside laborers were busy building up a terrace, where
a wide cement-floor piazza with stone foundations and low
stone walls was to run across the entire front. Another chim-
ney was rising from the region of the kitchen. A white
enamel sink with a wide drain-shelf attached appeared next,
with signs of a butler's pantry between kitchen and dining-
room. A delightful set of china-closet doors with little
diamond panes that matched the windows was put in one
corner of the dining-room, and some bookcases with sliding
doors began to develop along the w&. s of the living-room.
Down in the basement a man was fitting stationary tubs for
a laundry, and on both the first floor and the second bath-
rooms were being made. If the place hadn't been so big, the
workmen would have got in one another's way. Closets big
and little were being put in, and parts of a handsome stair-
case were lying about, until you wouldn't know the place at
all. Every evening the old servant and the neighbor next
door, who used to rent the old barn before he built his own
new one, came together to look over what had been accom-
plished during the day, and to discourse upon this changing
world and the wonders of it. The farmer, in fact, learned
a great deal about modern improvements, and at once set
about bringing some of them to bear upon his own modest
farmhouse. He had money in the bank, and why shouldn't
he "nave things convenient for Sally"?
When Sidney Graham reached the city on Monday morn-
ing he scarcely took time to read his mail in the office and
860 THE ENCHANTED BARN
give the necessary attention to the day's work before he was
ap and off again, flying along the Glenside Koad as fast as
his car would carry him. His mind certainly was not on
business that morning. He was as eager as a child to see
how work at the old barn was progressing, and the workmen
stood small chance of lying down on their job that week, for
he meant to make every minute count, no matter how much it
cost. He spent a large part of Monday hovering about the
old barn, gloating over each new sign of progress, using his
imagination on more things than the barn. But when Tues-
day arrived an accumulation of work at the office in con-
nection with a large order that had just come in kept him
close to his desk. He had hoped to get away in time to reach
Glenside before the workmen left in the afternoon, but four
o'clock arrived with still a great pile of letters for him to
sign, before his work would be done for the day.
He had just signed his name for the forty-ninth time
and laid his pen down with an impatient sigh of relief when
the telephone on his desk rang. He hesitated. Should he
answer it and be hindered again, or call his secretary and let
her attend to it while he slipped away to his well-earned
respite? A second insistent ring, however, brought him back
to duty and he reached out and took up the receiver.
" Is this Mr. Sidney Graham ? Long distance is calling ! *
The young man frowned impatiently and wished he had
Bent for his secretary. It was probably another tiresome
confab on that Chicago matter, and it really wasn't worth
the trouble, anyway. Then a small scared voice at the other
end of the wire spoke:
"Is that you, Mr. Graham? Well, this is Carol. Say.
itr. vJraham, I'm afraid something awful has happened to
THE ENCHANTED BARN 26J
Shirley ! I don't know what to do, and I thought I'd bettei
ask you." Her voice broke off in a gasp like a sob.
A cold chill struck at the young man's heart, and a vision
of Shirley battling with the ocean waves was instantly con-
" Shirley ! Where is she ? Tell me, quick ! " he managed
to say, though the words seemed to stick in his throat.
" She's down at Washington," answered Carol. " Mr.
Barnard phoned her last night. There was something special
nobody else could take notes about, because it was for a
Government contract, and has to be secret. Mr, Barnard
asked her to please go and she went this morning. Mother
didn't like her to go, but she addressed a lot of postal cards
for her to write back, and one came postmarked Baltimore
in this afternoon's mail, saying she was having a nice time.
But just now a call came for mother to go to the telephone.
She was asleep and George was crabbing so I had to come.
It was a strange man in Washington. He said he had just
found three postal cards on the road addressed to mother, that
all said ' Help ! Quick ! Two men were carrying off Shirley
and please to phone to the police/ He took the postals to
the police station, but he thought he ought to phone us. And
oh, Mr. Graham, what shall I do? I can't tell mother. It
will kill her, and how can we help Shirley?"
"Don't tell mother," said Graham quickly, trying to
speak calmly out of his horror. "Be a brave girl, Carol.
A great deal depends on you just now. Have you phoned Mr.
Barnard ? Oh, you say he's in Washington ? He was to meet
your sister in Baltimore? He did meet her you say? The
postal card said she had met him? Well, the next thing is
to phone Mr. Clegg and find out if he knows anything. Ill
262 THE ENCHANTED BARN
do that at once, and unles Le has heard that she is all right
I will start for Washington on the next train. Suppose you
stay right where you are till half -past five. I may want to
call you up again and need you in a hurry. Then you go
back to the cottage as fast as you can and talk cheerfully.
Say you went to take a walk. Isn't Elizabeth with you?
Well, tell her to help keep your mother from suspecting
anything. Above all things don't cry ! It won't do any good
and it may do lots of harm. Get George off by himself and
tell him everything, and tell him I said he was to make some
excuse to go down town after supper and stay at the telephone
office till ten o'clock. I may want to call him up from
Washington. Now be a brave little girl. I suspect your
sister Shirley would tell you to pray. Good-by."
" I will ! " gasped Carol. " Good-by ! "
Graham pressed his foot on the bell under his desk and
reached out to slam his desk drawers shut and put away his
papers. His secretary appeared at the door.
" Get me Barnard and Clegg on the phone ! Ask for
Mr. Barnard or, if he isn't in, Mr. Clegg. Then go out to
the other phone and call up the station. Find out what's the
next express to Washington. Tell Bromwell to be ready to
drive me to the station and bring my car back to the garage."
He was working rapidly as he talked; putting papers in
the safe, jotting down a few notes for the next day's work,
trying to think of everything at once. The secretary handed
him the phone, quietly saying, " Mr. Clegg on the phone," and
went out of the room.
Excited conference with Mr. Clegg brought out the fact
that he was but just in receipt of a telegram from Police
Headquarters in Washimrton saying that a book with Barnar<?
THE ENCHANTED BARN 263
and Clegg's address and an appeal from a young woman
named Shirley Hollister who was apparently being kidnapped
by two strange men in an auto, had been flung into a passing
car and brought to them. They had sent forces in search
of the girl at once and would do all in their power to find
her. Meantime they would like any information that would
be helpful in the search.
Mr. Clegg was much excited. He appeared to have lost
his head. He seemed glad to have another cooler mind at
work on the case. He spluttered a good deal about the im-
portance of the case and the necessity for secrecy. He said
he hoped it wouldn't get into the papers, and that it would
be Barnard and Clegg's undoing if it did. He seemed more
concerned about that and the notes that Shirley probably
had, than about the girl's situation. When Graham brought
him up rather sharply he admitted that there had been a
message from Barnard that he would be detained over night
probably, but he had attached no significance to that. He
knew Barnard's usual hotel address in Washington but hadn't
thought to phone him about the telegram from police head-
quarters. Graham hung up at last in a panic of fury and
dismay, ringing violently for his secretary again.
" The next train leaves at five o'clock," she said capably,
as she entered. " Bromwell has gone after the car. I told
him to buy you a mileage book and save your time at this
snd. You have forty minutes and he will be back in plenty
" Good ! " said Graham. " Now call up long distance and
get me Police Headquarters in Washington. No! Use the
phone in father's office please, I'll have to use this while you're
864 THE ENCHANTED BARN
As soon as she had left the room he called up the show
again and was fortunate in getting Carol almost immediately,
the poor child being close at hand all in a tremble, with
Elizabeth in no less a state of nervousness, brave and white,
waiting for orders.
" Can yoa give me an exact description of your sister's
dress, and everything that she had with her when she started
this morning ? " asked Graham, prepared with pen and paper
to write it down.
Carol summoned her wits and described Shirley's simple
outfit exactly, even down to the little black pumps on her
feet, and went mentally through the small hand-bag she had
"Oh, yes!" she added, "and she had a book to read!
One she found here in the cottage. It had a red cover and
was called, " From the Car Behind."
Graham wrote them all down carefully, asked a few more
details of Shirley's plans, and bade Carol again to be brave
and go home with a message to George to be at the phone
from half -past eight to ten.
He was all ready to go to his train when the Washington
call came in, and as he hurried to his father's office to answer
it he found his heart crying out to an Unseen Power to help
in this trying hour and protect the sweet girl in awful peril.
" Oh, God, I love her ! " he found his heart saying over
and over again, as if it had started out to be an individual by
itself without his will or volition.
There was no comfort from Washington Police Head-
quarters. Nothing more had been discovered save another
crumpled postal lying along the roadside. They received
with alacrity, however, Mr. Barnard's Washington hotel ad-
THE ENCHANTED BARN 66
drees, and the description of the young woman and her be-
longings. When Graham had finished the hasty conversation
he had to fly to make his train, and when at last he lay back
in his seat in the parlor car and let the waves of his anxiety
and trouble roll over him he was almost overwhelmed. He
had led a comparatively tranquil life for a young man who
had never tried to steer clear of trouble, and this was the first
great calamity that had ever come his way. Calamity? No,
he would not own yet that it was a calamity. He was hurrying
to her! He would find her! He would not allow himself
to think that anything had befallen her. But wherever she
was, if she was still alive, no matter how great her peril, he
was sure she was praying now, and he would pray too ! Yes,
pray as she had taught him. Oh, God! If he only knew
how to pray better ! What was it she had said so often ?
" Whatsoever ye ask in my name " yes, that was it " I will
do it/' What was that talismanic Name? Ah! Christ! "Oh,
God, in the name of Christ " But when he came to the
thought of her she was too exquisite and dear to be put into
words, so his petition went up in spirit form, unframed by
words to weight it down, wafted up by the pain of a soul in
At Baltimore it occurred to Graham to send a telegram
to Barnard to meet him at the train, and when he got out at
Union Station the first person he saw was Barnard, white and
haggard, looking for him through the bars of the train gate,
He grasped the young man's hand as if it were a last straw
for a drowning man to cling to, and demanded in a shaking
voice to know if he had heard anything from Miss Hollister.
One of the first questions that Graham asked was whether
Barnard had been back to the office where Miss Hollister had
taken the dictation, to report her disappearance.
*66 THE ENCHANTED BARN
"Well, no, I hadn't thought of that/'' said Barnard
blankly. " What would they know about it ? The fact is I
was rather anxious to keep the facts from getting to them.
You see they warned me that there were parties anxious to
get hold of those specifications. It's Government work, you
" They should know at onco," said Graham sternly. " They
may have inside information which would give us a clew to
follow. The secret service men are onto a lot of things that
we common mortals don't suspect."
Mr. Barnard looked mortified and convinced.
"Well, what have you done so far? We would better
understand each other thoroughly so as to save time and not
go over old ground. You have been in communication with
Police Headquarters, of course ? " asked Graham.
"Why, no," said the older man apologetically. "You
see, I got here just in time for the train, and failing to find
the young lady in the station where we had agreed to meet, I
took it for granted that she had used the extra time in driving
about to see a few sights in the city, as I suggested, and had
somenow failed to get back in time. I couldn't understand it
because she had been quite anxious to get home to-night. I
could have caught the train myself, but didn't exactly like to
leave her alone in a strange city, though, of course, it's per-
fectly safe for a steady girl like that. Afterward it occurred
to me that she might have gotten on the train and perhaps I
should have done so too, but there was really very little time
to decide, for the train pulled out two minutes after I reached
the station. I waited about here for a time, and then went
over to the Continental, where my sister is stopping, thinking
I would ask her to stay in the station and watch for the young
THE ENCHANTED BARN 267
lady and I would go home; but I found my sister had run
down to the shore for a few days ; so I had something to eat
and while I was in the dining-room your telegram came. I
was hoping somehow you had seen Miss Hollister, or had
word from her, and it was all right/'
One could see the poor man had no conception of what
was due to a lady in his care, and Graham looked at him for
a moment with rage, wishing he could take him hy the throat
and shake some sense into him.
" Then you don't know f'at she's been kidnapped and the
police are out on track for her?" said Graham dryly.
"No! You don't sa^!" exclaimejd Barnard, turning
white and showing he had some real feeling after all. e< Kid-
napped ! Why why how could she ? And she's got those
notes! Why, Graham! You're fooling ! Why, how came you
Graham told him tersely as he walked the man over to
the telephone booths, and finished with:
" Now, you go in that booth and phone your Government
man, and I'll call up police headquarters and see whaf s
doing. We've got to work fast, for there's no telling what
may have happened in the last three hours. It's up to us
to find that girl before anything worse happens to her."
White and trembling Barnard tottered into the booth.
When he came out again the sleuth-hounds of the Secret
Service were on the trail of Shirley Hollister's captors.
THE car that was bearing Shirley Hollister through the
lonely wooded road at a breathless speed suddenly came to a
halt in the rear of an old house whose front faced on another
road equally lonely. During the brief time that they had
been in the woods, the sky seemed to have perceptibly dark-
ened with the coming evening.
Shirley looked about her with increased fright. It was
almost night and here was her prison, far from town or
human dwelling place. Even the road was at some distance
in front of the house, and there were more woods on either
"This here is Secretary Baker's summer home," an-
nounced the man who had done the talking, as he climbed
out of the car and opened the door for her. ee You can just
fitep in the back door and go through to the parlor; the help's
all out this afternoon. The Secretary 5 !! be down presently.
He always takes a nap afternoons about this time. I'll tell
bin* you've come."
There seemed nothing to do but obey, and Shirley chose
to let the farce continue. Surely the man must know she
was not a fool, but it was better than open hostility. There
was nothing to be gained by informing him that she knew h< '
was guying her.
" Oh, Jesus Christ, I trust myself to you ! " she breathed
in her heart as she stepped across the leaf -strewn grass and
looked about her, wondering whether she should ever walk
the earth again after she had stepped into the dim tree-
shrouded house. But why go in?
THE ENCHANTED BARN 26t
" I think I will remain out here," she said calmly, albeit
her heart was pounding away like a trip-hammer. " Pleasa
tell Mr. Baker to come to me here. It is much pleasantei
than in the house a day like this."
"Aw no! You won't neither! The Secretary don't re-
ceive in the open air even in summer," drawled the man,
and she noticed that he and the driver straightened up and
stepped closer to her, one on either side. She gave one wild
glance toward the open space. There was simply no chance at
all to run away even if she succeeded in eluding them at the
start by a quick, unexpected dash. They were alert athletic
men, and no telling how many more were hidden in the house.
" Oh, very well, of course, if it's a matter of etiquette ! *
aaid Shirley pleasantly, determined to keep up the farce a>
long as possible.
A cold, dark air met the girl as she stepped within the
creaking door and looked about her. At her left was an old-
fashioned kitchen, dusty and cobwebby. A long, narrow
hall led to the front of the nouse and her guide pointed her
toward a room on tha right. There was something hollow
and eerie in the sound of their footsteps on the old oaken
floor. The room into which she was ushered was musty and
dusty as the rest. The floor was covered with an ancient
ingrain carpet. The table was covered with a magenta felt
cover stamped with a vine of black leaves and riddled witb
moth holes. The walls were hung with old prints and steel
engravings suspended by woollen cords and tassels. The furni-
ture was dilapidated. Everything was covered with dust,
but there were finger marks in the dust here and there
that showed the place had been recently visited. Through an
open doorway an old square piano was visible in what must
370 THE ENCHANTED BARN
be the parlor. The place seemed to Shirley fairly teeming
with memories of some family now departed. She leaped to
the quick conclusion that the house had been long deserted
and had only recently been entered and used as a rendezvous
for illegal conferences. It occurred to her that there might
be an opportunity for her to hide her precious papers some-
where safely if it came to it that she must be searched. How
about that piano? Could she slip some of them between the
keys? But it was hardly likely that there would be oppor-
tunity for anything like that.
She felt strangely calm as she looked about upon her
" H'm ! He ain't come yet ! " remarked her guide as he
glanced into the front room. " Well, you can set down. He
won't be long now. Joe, you jest look about a bit and see if
you can find the Secretary, and tell him the young lady is
The man flung himself full length on the carpet-covered
couch and looked at her with satisfaction.
"What train was that you said you must make? I'm
afraid now you might be going to be just a trifle late if he
don't get a hustle on, but you can't hurry a great man like that
" Oh, it's no matter ! " said Shirley coolly, looking around
her with the utmost innocence. " What a quaint old house !
Has it been in the family a long time ? "
The man looked at her amusedly.
" You're a cute one ! " he remarked affably. " I believe
you're a pretty good sport! You know perfectly well you're
in my power and can't do a turn to help yourself, yet you
sail around here as calm as a queen ! You're some looker, too I
THE ENCHANTED BARN $71
Blamed if I'm not enjoying myself. I wouldn't mind a kiss
or two from those pretty lips "
But Shirley had melted through the doorway into the
other room and her voice floated back with charming in-
difference as if she had not heard, though she was ready to
scream with loathing and fear of the man :
"Why, isn't this a delightful old piano? The keys are
actually mother-of-pearl. Isn't it odd? Would Mr. Baker
mind if I played on it ? "
And before her astonished captor could get himself to the
doorway she had sat down on the rickety old hair-cloth stool
and swept the keys lightly. The old chords trembled and
ihivered as if awaking from a tomb, and uttered forth a
quavering, sweet sound like ancient memories.
The man was too much astonished to stop her, amused
too, perhaps, and interested. Her white fingers over the
dusty pearls in the growing dusk had a strange charm for
the hardened reprobate, like the wonder of a flower dropped
into the foulness of a prison. Before he could recover, he was
startled again by her voice soaring out in the empty echoing
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me Lord and make me pure!
Perhaps those dim, gloomy walls had echoed before to th<j
grand old tune, but never could it have been sung in direi
strait, or with more earnest cry from a soul in distress. She
had chosen the first words that seemed to fit the chords she
272 THE ENCHANTED BARN
had struck, but every syllable was a prayer to the G&d in
whom she trusted. It may be the man felt the power of her
appeal as he stood rooted in the doorway and listened while
she sang through all the verses she could remember. But
the last trembling note was broken harshly by Joe's voice at
the kitchen door in sharp, rasping orders:
te Hist, there ! Can that noise ! Do you want to raise hell
here? Wake up, Sam ! Get onto your job. Hennie's cominV
" That's all right, Joe ! Dry up ! This is good Sunday
School dope ! This won't rouse no suspicions. Go to the devil
and mind your business ! I know what I'm about ! "
Shirley was almost ready to cry, but she drew a deep breath
and started on another song:
Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high!
Hide me, oh, my Saviour hide,
Till the storm of life is past.
On through the time-worn words she sang, while the sin-
hardened man stood silently and listened. His eyes had
gradually lost their leer and grown soft and tender, as if
some childhood memories of home and mother and a time
when he was innocent and good were looking out his eyes,
reminding him of what he once intended to be before he ate
the apple of wisdom and became as the gods and devils.
Shirley gradually became aware that she was holding her
strange audience; and a power beyond herself steadied her
voice, and kept her fingers from trembling on the old pearl
keys, as she wandered on from song to song; perhaps hap-
THE ENCHANTED BARN 273
pening on the very ones, who knows ? that this man, stand-
ing in the dying twilight of the old! gloomy house, had sung
beside his mother's hearth or in church during his childhood ?
Certain it is that he stood there silent and listened for at least
half an hour without an interruption, while the light in the
big room grew dimmer and dimmer and all about the house
seemed still as death in the intervals between her voice.
She was just beginning :
Abide with me,
Fast falls the eventide,
The darkness deepens,
Lord, with me abide!
When the man put his hand in his pocket and brought out a
candle. Scratching a match on his trousers, he lit the candle
and set it carefully on the piano, where its light fell nickering,
wavering over her worn young face; and who shall say that
she was not a messenger from another world to this man who
had long trodden the downward path ?
They were interrupted, however, before this song was
finished by a newcomer who entered like a shadow and stood
at the end of the piano looking wonderingly from Shirley
to the man, when she glanced up. She stopped, startled,
for although he wore no brass buttons nor blue clothes she
was quite sure those were the same gray eyes that had looked
at her from the recess of the window in the Government office
that afternoon, perhaps the same boy who had come after
her car and sent her off on this long way into the wilderness.
The man Sam straightened up suddenly and looked about
him half-ashamed with an apologetic grin :
" Oh, you've come, have you, Hennie ? Well, you been a
274 THE ENCHANTED BARN
long time about it! But now I guess we'll get to work
Where's Joe? Out on the watch? All right then, Miss, if
you've no objection, we'll just take a little vacation on the
psalm singin' and turn our attention to worldly things. I
calculate you're sharp enough to know what we brought you
put here for ? I acknowledge you can sing real well, and you
aorta got my goat for a while there with all that mourning
bench tra-la, for you certainly have got that holy dope down
fine; but now the time's come for business, and you needn't
to think that because I can enjoy a little sentiment now and
ihen in a leisure moment that you can put anything over on
me, for it can't be did ! I mean business and I've got you in
pay power! We're ten miles from any settlement, and no
fleighbors anywhere's about. Everybody moved away. So it
won't do any good to work any funny business on us. You
can't get away. We're all armed, and no one knows where
you are! If you behave yourself and do as you're told there
won't be any trouble. We'll just transact our business and
then we'll have a bit of supper, and mebbe a few more tunes
got any rag- time in your repitwar ? and then sometime after
midnight, when the moon's good and dark, we'll get you back
to civilization where you won't have no trouble in gettin'
home. But if you act up and get funny, why you know what
to expect. There was a young girl murdered once in this
house and buried in the cellar and ever since folks say if a
hanted and they won't come near it. That's the kind of a
place we're in ! So, now are you ready ? "
Shirley sat cold and still. It seemed as if her life blood
had suddenly congealed in her veins and for a second she felt
as if her senses were going to desert her. Then the echo of
her own song : " Hide me, oh, my Saviour hide ! " seemed to
THE ENCHANTED BARN 273
ery out from her soul silently and she rallied once more and
gained her self-control.
"Well, Miss/' went on the man impressively, "I sef
you're ready for the question, and you've got your nerve with
you, too, I'll hand you that ! But I warn you it won't do nc
good ! We brung you out here to get a hold of that note-book
you wrote in this morning, and we're goin' to have it. We
know that Mr. Barnard left it in your care. Hennie here
heard him say for you to keep it. So it won't be of any use
for you to lie about it."
" Of course ! " said Shirley, standing up and reaching over
for her hand-bag, which she had laid on the piano beside her
while she played. " I understand perfectly. But I'd like to
gsk you a question, Mr. ? "
" Smith, or Jones, whichever you like to call it. Spit if
" I suppose you are paid to bring me out here, Mr. Smith,
and get my property away from me ? " she said gravely.
"Well, yes, we don't calculate to do it just for sweet
"And 7 am paid to look after my note-book, you see. It's
a trust that has been given me ! I just have to look after it.
It's out of the question for me to desert it ! " Shirley spoke
coolly and held her little bag close in the firm grasp of her
two hands. The man stared at her and laughed. The boy
Hennie fairly gaped in his astonishment. " A girl with all that
nerve ! "
" Of course, I understand perfectly that you can murder
me and bury me down in the cellar beside that other girl
that was murdered, and perhaps no one will find it out for
a while, and you can go on having a good time on the money
276 THE ENCHANTED BARN
you will get for it. But the day will come when you will
have to answer for it! You know I didn't come here alone
Both men looked startled and glanced uneasily into the
shadows, as if there might be someone lurking there.
" God came with me and He knows ! He'll make you
remember some day ! "
The boy laughed out a nervous ha ! ha ! of relief, but the
man seemed held, fascinated by her look and words. There
was silence for a second while the girl held off the ruffian
in the man by sheer force of her strong personality. Then
the boy laughed again, with a sneer in the end of it, and
the spell was broken. The leer came into the eyes of the man
again. The sneer of the boy had brought him to himself,
to the self he had come to be.
" Nix on the sob-stuff, girlie ! " he said gruffly. " It won't
go down with me! We're here for business and we've been
delayed too long already. Come now, will you hand out that
note-book or will we have to search you?" He took one
stride across to where she stood and wrenched the hand-bag
from her grasp before she was aware of his intention. She
had not meant to give it up without a struggle, much as she
loathed the thought of one. She must make the matter last
as long as possible, if perchance God was sending help to
her, and must contest every inch of the way as far as lay in
her power. Oh, had anyone picked up her cards? Had
the book with its message reached any friendly eye?
Frail and white and stern she stood with folded arms
while they turned out the contents of the little bag and
scattered it over the piano, searching 1 with clumsy finger*
among her dainty things.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 277
The note-book she had rolled within her handkerchiefs
and made it hard to find. She feared lest her ruse would
be discovered when they looked it over. The boy was the one
who clutched for the little book, recognizing it as the one
he had seen in the office that morning. The man hung over
shis shoulder and peered in the candlelight, watching the boy
anxiously. It meant a good deal of money if they put this
" Here it is ! " said the boy, fluttering through the leaves
and carefully scrutinizing the short-hand characters. " Yes,
that's the dope! 7 '
He ran his eye down the pages, caught a word here and
there, technicalities of manufacture, the very items, of course,
that he wanted, if this had been the specifications for the Gov-
ernment order. Shirley remembered with relief that none of
the details were identical, however, with the notes she carried
in her shoes. The book-notes were in fact descriptive of an
entirely different article from that demanded by the Govern-
ment. The question was, would these people be wise enough
to discover that f act before she was out of their power or not ?
Furtively she studied the boy. There was something keen
and cunning about his youthful face. He was thick-set, with
blond hair and blue eyes. He might be of German origin,
though there was not a sign of accent about his speech. He
had the bull-dog chin, retreating forehead and eagle nose of
the Kaiser in embryo. Shirley saw all this as she studied him
furtively. That he was an expert in short-hand was proved by
the ease with which he read some of her obscure sentences,
translating rapidly here and there as he examined the book.
Was he well enough informed about the Government con-
tract to realize that these were not the notes she had taken
378 THE ENCHANTED BARN
in the office that morning? And should he fail to recog*
nize it, was there perhaps some one higher in authority to
whom they would be shown before she was released? She
shivered and set her weary toes tight with determination over
the little crinkling papers in her shoes. Somehow she would
protect those notes from being taken, even if she had to
swallow them. There surely would be a way to hide them if
the need came.
Suddenly the tense strain under which she was holding
herself was broken by the man. He looked up with a grin,
rubbing his hands with evident self-gratulation and relief :
" That's all right, Girlie ! That's the dope we want. Now
we won't trouble you any longer. We'll have supper. Hennie,
you go get some of that wood out in the shed and we'll have a
fire on the hearth and make some coffee ! "
But Shirley, standing white and tense in the dim shadow
of the room, suddenly felt the place whirling about her, and
the candle dancing afar off. Her knees gave way beneath her
and she dropped back to the piano stool weakly, and covered
her face with her hands, pressing hard on her eyeballs ; trying
to keep her senses and stop this black dizziness that threatened
to submerge her consciousness. She must not faint if this
was fainting. She must keep her senses and guard her precious
shoes. If one of those should fall off while she was uncon*
gcious all would be undone.
THE man looked up from the paper he was twisting for a
fire and saw Shirley's attitude of despair.
" Say, kid/' he said, with a kind of gruff tenderness, " you
don't need to take it that a-way. I know it's tough luck to
lose out when you been so nervy and all, but you knew we had
it over you from the start. You hadn't a show. And say !
Girlie! I tell you what! I'll make Hennie sit down right
now and copy 'em off for you, and you can put 'em in your
book again when you get back and nobody be the wiser. We'll
just take out the leaves. We gotta keep the original o' course,
but that won't make any beans for you. It won't take you no
time to write 'em over again if he gives you a copy."
Somehow it penetrated through Shirley's tired conscious^
ness that the man was trying to be kind to her. He was
pitying her and offering her a way out of her supposed
dilemma, offering to assist her in some of his own kind of
deception. The girl was touched even through all her other
crowding emotions and weariness. She lifted up ner head
with a faint little smile.
" Thank you," she said, wearily, " but that wouldn't do me
" Why not ? " asked the man sharply. " Your boss would
never know it got out through you."
" But I should know I had failed ! " she said sadly. " If
you had my notes I should know that I had failed in my
** It wouldn't be your fault. You couldn't have helped it ! "
280 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Oh, yes, I could, and I ought. I shouldn't have let the
driver turn around. I should have got out of that car and
waited at the station as Mr. Barnard told me to do till he
came. I had been warned and I ought to have been on my
guard. So you see it was my fault."
She drooped her head forward and rested her chin de-
jectedly on the palm of her hand, her elbow on her knee. The
man stood looking at her for a second in half-indignant
" By golly ! " he said at last. " You certainly are some
nut ! Well, anyhow, buck up, and let's have some tea. Sorry
I can't see my way clear to help you out any further, being
as we're sort of partners in this job and you certainly have
got some nerve for a girl, but you know how it is. I guess I
can't do no more'n I said. I got my honor to think about,
too. See ? Hennie ! Get a move on you. We ain't waitin' all
night fer eats. Bring in them things from the cupboard and
let's get to work."
Shirley declined to come to the table when at last the
repast was ready. She said she was not hungry. In fact, the
smell or the crackers and cheese and pickles and dried beef
sickened her. She felt too hysterical to try to eat, and besides
she had a lingering feeling that she must keep near that piano.
If anything happened she had a vague idea that she might
somehow hide the precious notes within the big old instrument.
The man frowned when she decUned to come to supper,
but a moment later stumbled awkwardly across the room with
a slopping cup of coffee and set it down beside her.
" Buck up, girlie ! " he growled. " Drink that and you'll
Shirley thanked him and tried to drink a few mouthfuls.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 281
Then the thought occurred to her that it might be drugged,
and she swallowed no more. But she tried to look a bit
brighter. If she must pass this strange evening in the com-
pany of these rough men, it would not help matters for her to
give way to despair. So after toying with the teaspoon a
moment, she put the cup down and began to play soft airs on
the old piano again whi. 3 the men ate and took a stealthy
taste now and then from a black bottle. She watcLad them
furtively as she played, marvelling at their softened ex-
pressions, remembering the old line:
"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast," and
wondering if perhaps there were not really something in it.
jff she had not been in such a terrifying situation she would
really have enjoyed the character study that this view of
those two faces afforded her, as she sat in the shadow playing
softly while they ate with the flaring candle between them.
" I like music with my meals ! " suddenly chanted out the
boy in an interval. But the man growled in a low tone:
" Shut up ! Ain't you got no manners ? "
Shirley prolonged that meal as much as music could do it,
for she had no relish for a more intimate tete-a-tete with
cither of her companions. When she saw them grow restless
she began to sing again, light little airs this time with catchy
words ; or old tender melodies of home and mother and child-
hood. They were songs she had sung that last night in the
dear old barn when Sidney Graham and Elizabeth were with
them, and unconsciously her voice took on the wail of her heart
for all that dear past so far away from her now.
Suddenly, as the last tender note of a song died away Joe
^tumbled breathlessly into the room. The boy Hennie slithered
out of the room like a serpent at his first word.
*82 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Beat it ! " he cried in a hoarse whisper. " Get a move
on! All hell's out after us! I bet they heard her singin''
Take her an' beat it ! I'll douse the fire an' out the candle.
He seized a full bucket of water and dashed it over the
dying fire. Shirley felt the other man grasp her arm in a
fierce grip. Then Joe snuffed out the candle with his broad
thumb and finger and all was pitch dark. She felt herself
dragged across the floor regardless of furniture in the way,
stumbling, choking with fear, her one thought that whatever
happened she must not let her slippers get knocked off ; hold-
ing her feet in a tense strain with every muscle extended to
keep the shoes fastened on like a vise. She was haunted with
a wild thought of how she might have slipped under the piano
and eluded her captor if only the light had gone out one
second sooner before he reached her side. But it was too late
to think of that now, and she was being dragged along breath-
lessly, out the front door, perhaps, and down a walk; no, it
was amongst trees, for she almost ran into one. The man
swore at her, grasped her arm till he hurt her and she cried
" You shut up or I'll shoot you ! " he said with an oath.
He had lost all his suavity and there was desperation in his
voice. He kept turning his head to look back and urging
She tripped on a root and stumbled to her knees, bruising
them painfully, but her only thought was one of joy that her
shoes had not come off.
The man swore a fearful oath under his breath, then
snatched her up and began to run with her in his arms. It
was then she heard Graham's voice calling :
" Shirley ! Where are you ? I'm coming
THE ENCHANTED BARN 283
She thought she was swooning or dreaming and that it
was not really he, for how could he possibly be here? But
she cried out with a voice as clear as a bell : " I'm here, Sidney,
come quick ! " In his efforts to hush her voice, the man
stumbled and fell with her in his arms. There came other
voices and forms through the night. She was gathered up in
strong, kind arms and held. The last thought she had before
she sank into unconsciousness was that God had not for-
gotten. He had been remembering all the time and sent His
help before it was too late; just as she had known all along
He must do, because He had promised to care for His own,
and she was one of His little ones.
When she came to herself again she was lying in Sidney
Graham's arms with her head against his shoulder feeling oh,
so comfortable and tired. There were two automobiles with
powerful headlights standing between the trees, and a lot of
policemen in the shadowy background. Her captor stood
sullen against a tree with his hands and feet shackled. Joe
stood between two policemen with a rope bound about his
body spirally, and the boy Hennie, also bound, beside his
fallen bicycle, turned his ferret eyes from side to side as if
he hoped even yet to escape. Two other men with hawk-like
faces that she had not seen before were there also, manacled,
and with eyes of smouldering fires. Climbing excitedly out
of one of the big cars came Mr. Barnard, his usually immacu-
late pink face smutty and weary ; his sparse white hair rumpled
giddily, and a worried pucker on his kind, prim face.
" Oh, my dear Miss Hollister ! How unfortunate ! " he
exclaimed. "I do hope you haven't suffered too much
inconvenience ! "
Shirley smiled up at him from her shoulder of refuge as
284 THE ENCHANTED BARN
from a dream. It was all so amusing and impossible after
what she had been through. It couldn't be real.
" I assure you I am very much distressed on your account,"
went on Mr. Barnard, politely and hurriedly, " and I hate to
mention it at such a time, but could you tell me whether the
notes are safe? Did those horrid men get anything away
A sudden flicker of triumph passed over the faces of the
fettered man and the boy, like a ripple over still water and
died away into unintelligence.
But Shirley's voice rippled forth in a glad, clear laugh,
as she answered joyously:
"Yes, Mr. Barnard, they got my note-book, but not the
notes! They thought the Tilman-Brooks notes were what
they were after, but the real notes are in my shoes. Won't
you please get them out, for I'm afraid I can't hold them on
any longer, my feet ache so ! "
It is a pity that Shirley was not in a position to see the
look of astonishment, followed by a twinkle of actual apprecia-
tion that came over the face of the shackled man beside the
tree as he listened. One could almost fancy he was saying to
himself: "The nervy little nut! She put one over on me
It was also a pity that Shirley could not have got the full
view of the altogether precise and conventional Mr. Barnard
kneeling before her on the ground, removing carefully, with
deep embarrassment and concern, first one, then the other, of
her little black pumps, extracting the precious notes, counting
over the pages and putting them ecstatically into his pocket.
No one of that group but Shirley could fully appreciate the
ludicrous picture he made.
THE ENCHANTED BARN
" You are entirely sure that no one but yourself has seen
these notes ? " he asked anxiously as if he hardly dared to
believe the blessed truth.
" Entirely sure, Mr. Barnard ! " said Shirley happily, " and
now if you wouldn't mind putting on my shoes again I can
relieve Mr. GrsJiam of the necessity of carrying me an}
" Oh, surely, surely ! " said Mr. Barnard, quite fussed and
getting down laboriously again, his white forelock all tossed,
and his forehead perplexed over the unusual task. How did
women get into such a little trinket of a shoe, anyway?
" I assure you, Miss Hollister, our firm appreciates what
you have done! We shall not forget it. You will see, we
shall not forget it ! " he puffed as he rose with beads of
perspiration on his brow. " You have done a great thing for
Barnard and Clegg to-day ! "
" She's done more than that ! " said a burly policeman
significantly glancing around the group of sullen prisoners, as
Graham put her upon her feet beside him. " She's rounded up
the whole gang for us, and that's more than anybody else has
been able to do yet ! She oughtta get a medal of some kind
Then, with a dare-devil lift of his head and a gleam of
something like fun in his sullen eyes, the manacled man by
the tree spoke out, looking straight at Shirley, real admiration
in his voice :
" I say, pard ! I guess you're the winner ! I'll hand you
what's comin' to you if I do lose. You certainly had your
nerve ! "
Shirley looked at him with a kind of compassion in her eyes.
" I'm sorry you have to be there," she finished. a You
S86 THE ENCHANTED BARN
were as fine as you could be to me under the circumstances,
I suppose ! I thank you for that."
The man met her gaze for an instant, a flippant reply
upon his lips, but checked it and dropping his eyes, was
silent. The whole little company under the trees were hushed
into silence before the miracle of a girl's pure spirit, leaving
its impress on a blackened soul.
Then, quietly, Graham led her away to his car with
Barnard and the detectives following. The prisoners were
loaded into the other cars, and hurried on the way to
ow ' *'jfi fib/ noY <.$ tt&ftft ton Kfte '// lyBto&xv&d HOY
THE ride back to the city was like a dream to Shirley
afterward. To see the staid Mr. Barnard so excited, babbling
away about her bravery and exulting like a child over the
recovery of the precious notes, was wonder enough. But to
feel the quiet protection and tender interest of Sidney Graham
filled her with ecstasy. Of course it was only kindly interest
and friendly anxiety, and by to-morrow she would have put
it into order with all his other kindlinesses, but to-night,
weary and excited as she was, with the sense of horror over
her recent experience still upon her, it was sweet to feel hia
attention, and to let his voice thrill through her tired heart,
without stopping to analyze it and be sure she was not too-
glad over it. What if he would be merely a friend to-morrow
again ! To-night he was her rescuer, and she would rest back
upon that and be happy.
" \ fee] that I was much to blame for leaving you alone
co go to the station with a bait like these notes in your pos-
session," said Mr. Barnard humbly. " Though of course I
did not dream that there was any such possibility as your
being in danger."
" It is just as well not to run any risks in these days when
the country is so unsettled," said the detective dryly.
" Especially where a lady is concerned ! " remarked Graham
" I supf ose I should have taken Miss Hollister with me
and left her in the cab while I transacted my business at the
88 THE ENCHANTED BARN
War Department ! " said Barnard with self-reproach in his
"They would have only done the same thing in front of
the War Department," said the detective convincingly. " They
had it all planned to get those notes somehow. You only
made it a trifle easier for them by letting the lady go alone.
If they hadn't succeeded here, they would have followed you
to your home and got into your office or your safe. They
are determined, desperate men. We've been watching them
for some time, letting them work till we could find out who
was behind them. To-night we caught the whole bunch red-
handed, thanks to the lady's cleverness. But you had better
not risk her alone again when there's anything like this on
hand. She might not come out so easy next time ! "
Graham muttered a fervent applause in a low tone to this
advice, tucking the lap robes closer about the girl. Barnard
gave little shudders of apology as he humbly shouldered the
" Oh, no, of course not ! I certainly am so sorry ! " But
Shirley suddenly roused herself to explain:
" Indeed, you mustn't any of you blame Mr. Barnard. He
did the perfectly right and natural thing. He always trusts
me to look after my notes, even in the most important cases ;
and I heard the warning as much as he did. It was my
business to be on the lookout! I'm old enough and have
read enough in the papers about spies and ruffians. I ought
to have known there was something wrong when that boy
ordered me back and said Mr. Barnard had sent me word. I
ought to have known Mr. Barnard would never do that. I
did know just as soon as I stopped to think. The trouble was
I was giving half my attention to looking at the strange sights
THE ENCHANTED BARN
out of the window and thinking what I would tell the folk*
at home about Washington, or I would not have got into
such a position. I insist that you shall not blame yourself,
Mr. Barnard. It is a secretary's business to be on her job
and not be out having a good time when she is on a business
trip. I hadn't got beyond the city limits before I knew
exactly what I ought to have done. I should have asked that
boy more questions, and I should have got right out of that
car and told him to tell you I would wait in the station till
you came for me. It troubled me from the start that you
had sent for me that way. It wasn't like you."
Then they turned their questions upon her, and she had to
tell the whole story of her capture, Graham and Barnard
exclaiming indignantly as she went on, the detective sitting
grim and serious, nodding his approval now and then. Gra-
ham's attitude toward her grew more tender and protective.
Once or twice as she told of her situation in the old house,
or spoke of how the man dragged her along in the dark, he
set his teeth and drew his breath hard, saying in an undertone :
" The villain ! " And there was that in the way that he looked
at her that made Shirley hasten through the story, because
of the wild, joyous clamor of her heart.
As soon as the city limits were reached, Graham stopped
the car to telephone. It was after eleven o'clock, and there
was little chance that George would have stayed at the phone
so long, but he would leave a message for the early morning
at least. George, however, had stuck to his post.
"Sure! I'm here yet! What'd ya think ? Couldn't sleep,
could I, with my sister off alone with a fella somewhere being
kidnapped? What'd ya say? Found her? She's all right?
Oh, gee ! That's good ! I told Carol you would ! I told he?
290 THE ENCHANTED BARN
not to worry ! What'd ya say? Oh, Shirley's going to talk?
Oh, hello, Shirley! How's Washington? Some speed, eh?
Say, when ya coming home ? To-morrow ? That's good. No,
mother doesn't know a thing. She thinks I went to bed early
'cause I planned to go fishing at sunrise. She went to bed
herself early. Say, Mister Graham's a prince, isn't he ? Well,
I guess I'll go to bed now. I might make the fishing in the
morning yet, if I don't sleep too late. I sure am glad you're
all right ! Well, so long, Shirley ! "
Shirley turned from the phone with tears in her eyes. It
wasn't what George said that made her smile tenderly through
them, but the gruff tenderness in his boy tones that touched
her so. She hadn't realized before what she meant to him.
They drove straight to the station, got something to eat,
and took the midnight train back to their home city. Graham
had protested that Shirley should go to a hotel and get a good
rest before attempting the journey, but she laughingly told
him she could rest anywhere, and would sleep like a top in
the train. When Graham found that it was possible to
secure berths in the sleeper for them all, and that they would
not have to get out until seven in the morning he withdrew
his protests; and his further activities took the form of sup-
plementing her supper with fruit and bonbons. His lingering
hand-clasp as he bade her good-night told her how glad he
was that she was safe ; as if his eyes had not told her the same
story every time there had been light enough for them to be
Locked at last into her safe little stateroom, with a soft
bed to lie on and no bothersome notes to be guarded, one
would have thought she might have slept, but her brain kept
time to the wheels, and her heart with her brain. She was
THE ENCHANTED BARN 291
going over and over the scenes of the eventful day, and living
through each experience again, until she came to the moment
when she looked up to find herself in Sidney Graham's arms,
with her face against his shoulder. Her face glowed in the
dark at the remembrance, and her heart thrilled wildly sweet
with the memory of his look and tone, and all his carefulness
for her. How wonderful that he should have come so many
miles to find her ! That he should have been the one to find
her first, with all those other men on the hunt. He had
forged ahead and picked her up before any of the others had
reached her. He had not been afraid to rush up to an armed
villain and snatch her from her perilous position ! He was a
man among men ! Never mind if he wasn't her own personal
property ! Never mind if there were others in his own world
who might claim him later, he was hers for to-night! She
would never forget it!
She slept at last, profoundly, with a smile upon her lips
No dream of villains nor wild automobile rides came to trouble
her thoughts. And when she woke in the home station with
familiar sounds outside, and realized that a new day was before
her, her heart was flooded with a happiness that her common
sense found it hard to justify. She tried to steady herself
while she made her toilet, but the face that was reflected
rosily from the mirror in her little dressing room would smile
contagiously back at her.
"Well, then, have it your own way for just one more
day ! " she said aloud to her face in the glass. " But to-
morrow you must get back to common sense again ! " Then
she turned, fresh as a rose, and went out to meet her fellow
She went to breakfast with Sidney Graham, a wonderful
THE ENCHANTED BARN
breakfast in a wonderful place with fountains and palms and
quiet, perfect service. Mr. Barnard had excused himself and
hurried away to his home, promising to meet Shirley at the
office at half -past nine. And so these two sat at a little round
table by themselves and had sweet converse over their coffee.
Shirley utterly forgot for the time that she was only a poor
little stenographer working for her bread and living in a
barn. Sidney Graham's eyes were upon her, in deep and un-
veiled admiration, his spirit speaking to hers through the
quiet little commonplaces to which he must confine himself
in this public place. It was not till the meal was over ano?
he was settling his bill that Shirley suddenly came to herself
and the color flooded her sweet face. What was she better
than any other poor fool of a girl who let a rich man amuse
himself for a few hours in her company and then let him
carry her heart away with him to toss with his collection?
She drew her dignity about her and tried to be distant as
they went out to the street, but he simply did not recognize
it at all. He just kept his tender, deferential manner, and
smiled down at her with that wonderful, exalted look that
made her dignity seem cheap ; so there was nothing to do but
look up as a flower would to the sun and be true to the best
that was in her heart.
She was surprised to find his own car at the door when
they came out on the street. He must have phoned for it
before they left the station. He was so kind and thoughtful.
It was so wonderful to her to be cared for in this way. <e Just
as if I were a rich girl in his own social set," she thought to
He gave his chauffeur the orders and sat beside ber in the
back seat, continuing his role of admirer and protector.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 293
" It certainly is great to think you're here beside me," he
said in a low tone as they threaded their way in and out of the
crowded thoroughfare toward the office. "I didn't have a
very pleasant afternoon and evening yesterday, I can tell you I
I don't think we'll let you go off on any more such errands.
You're too precious to risk in peril like that, you know ! "
Shirley's cheeks were beautiful to behold as she tried to
lift her eyes easily to his glance and take his words as if they
had been a mere commonplace. But there was something
deep down in the tone of his voice, and something intent and
personal in his glance that made her drop her eyes swiftly
and covered her with a sweet confusion.
They were at the office almost immediately and Graham
was helping her out.
" Now, when will you be through here ?" he asked, glancing
at his watch. " What train were you planning to take down
to the shore ? " I suppose you'll want to get back as soon as
"Yes," said Shirley, doubtfully, "I do. But I don't
know whether I oughtn't to run out home first and get mother's
big old shawl, and two or three other little things we ought to
have brought along."
"No," said Graham, quickly, with a flash of anxiety in
his face, " I wouldn't if I were you. They'll be anxious to
see you, and if it's necessary you can run up again sometime.
I think you'll find there are lots of shawls down at the cottage.
I'm anxious to have you safely landed with your family once
more. I promised Carol you'd be down the first train after
you got your work done. How long is it going to take you
to fix Mr. Barnard up so he can run things without you ? "
" Oh, not more than two hours I should think, unless
Ke wants something more than I know."
294 THE ENCHANTED BARN
"Well, two hours. It is half -past nine now. We'll say
two hours and a 1 alf . That ought to give you time. I think
there's a train about then. I'll phone to the station and find
out and let you know the exact time. The car will be here
waiting for you."
" Oh, Mr. Graham, that's not a bit necessary ! You have
tgien trouble enough for me already ! " protested Shirley.
" No trouble at all ! " declared Graham. " My chauffeur
hasn't a thing to do but hang around with the car this morning
and you might as well ride as walk. I'll phone you in plenty
He lifted his hat and gave her a last look that kept the
glow in her cheeks. She turned and went with swift steps in
to her elevator.
Sidney Graham dropped his chauffeur at the station to
enquire about trains and get tickets, with orders to report at
his office within an hour, and himself took the wheel. Quickly
working his way out of the city's traffic he put on all possible
speed toward Glenside. He must get a glimpse of things and
see that all was going well before he went to the office. What
would Shirley have said if she had carried out her plan of
coming out for her mother's shawl? He must put a stop to
that at all costs. She simply must not see the old barn till
the work was done, or the whole thing would be spoiled.
Strange it had not occurred to him that she might want to
come back after something! Well, he would just have to be
on the continual lookout. For one thing he would stop at a
etore on the way back and purchase a couple of big steamer
rugs and a long warm cloak. He could smuggle them into
the cottage somehow and have the servants bring them out
for common use as if they belonged to the nous?
THE ENCHANTED BARN 295
He was as eager as a child over every little thing that had
been started during his absence, and walked about with the
boss carpenter, settling two or three questions that had come
up the day before. In ten minutes he was back in his car,
whirling toward the city again, planning how he could best
get those rugs and cloaks into the hands of the housekeeper
at the shore without anybody suspecting that they were new.
Then it occurred to him to take them down to Elizabeth and
let her engineer the matter. There must be two cloaks, one for
Shirley, for he wanted to take her out in the car sometimes
and her little scrap of a coat was entirely too thin even for
summer breezes at the shore.
Shirley met with a great ovation when she entered the
office. It was evident that her fame had gone before her.
Mr. Barnard was already there, smiling benevolently, and
Mr. Clegg frowning approvingly over his spectacles at her,
Che other office clerks came to shake hands or called congratu-
lations, till Shirley was quite overwhelmed at her reception,
Clegg and Barnard both followed her into the inner offica
and continued to congratulate her on the bravery she had
shown and to express their appreciation of her loyalty and
courage in behalf of the firm. Mr. Barnard handed her a
check for a hundred dollars as a slight token of their appre-
ciation of her work, telling her that beginning with the first
of the month her salary was to be raised.
When at last she sat down to her typewriter and began
to click out the wonderful notes that had made so much trouble,
jind put them in shape for practical use, her head was in a
whirl and her heart was beating with a childish ecstasy. She
felt as if she were living a real fairy tale, and would not ever
be able to get back to common every-day life again*
296 THE ENCHANTED BARN
At half -past eleven Graham called her up to tell her there
was a train a little after twelve if she could be ready, and the
car would be waiting for her in fifteen minutes.
When she finally tore herself away from the smiles and
effusive thanks of Barnard and Clegg and took the elevator
down to the street she found Sidney Graham himself awaiting
her eagerly. This was a delightful surprise, for he had not
Baid anything about coming himself or mentioned when he
would be coming back to the shore, so she had been feeling
that It might be some time before she would see him again.
He had just slammed the door of the car and taken his
Beat beside her when a large gray limousine slowed down beside
them and a radiant, well-groomed, much-tailored young
woman leaned out of the car, smiling at Graham, and passing
over Shirley with one of those unseeing stares wherewith some
girls know so well how to erase other girls.
"Oh, Sidney ! I'm so glad I met you 1" she cried. "Mother
has been phoning everywhere to find you. We are out at our
country place for a couple of weeks, and she wants to ask you
to come over this afternoon for a little tennis tournament we
are having, with a dance on the lawn afterward 1 ."
" That's very kind of you, Harriet/' said Graham pleas-
antly, " but I can't possibly be there. I have an engagement
out of town for this afternoon and evening. Give my regards
to your mother, please, and thank her for the invitation. 1
know you'll have a lovely time, you always do at your house/'
" Oh, that's too bad, Sidney ! " pouted the girl. " Why
will you be so busy ! and in the summer-time, too ! You ought
to take a vacation ! Well, if you can't come to-night, you'll run
down over the week-end, won't you? We are having the
Foresters and the Harvey3. You like them, and we simply
can't do without you/'
THE ENCHANTED BARN 297
"Sorry," said Graham, smilingly, "but I've got all my
week-ends filled up just now. Harriet, let me introduce you
to Miss Hollister. Miss Hale, Miss Hollister ! "
Then did Harriet Hale have to take over her unseeing
stare and acknowledge the introduction; somewhat stiffly, it
imust be acknowledged, for Harriet Hale did not enjoy having
her invitations declined, and she could not quite place this
girl with the lovely face and the half -shabby garments, that
yet had somehow an air of having been made by a French
" I'm sorry, Harriet, but we'll have to hurry away. We're
going to catch a train at twelve-fifteen. Hope you have a
beautiful time this afternoon. Eemember me to Tom Harvey
and the Foresters. Sorry to disappoint you, Harriet, but you
see I've got my time just full up at present. Hope to see you
They were off, Shirley with the impression of Harriet
Hale's smile of vinegar and roses; the roses for Graham, the
vinegar for her. Shirley's heart was beating wildly under-
neath her quiet demeanor. She had at last met the wonderful
Harriet Hale, and Graham had not been ashamed to intro-
duce her! There had been protection and enthronement in
his tone as he spoke her name ! It had not been possible for
Miss Hale to patronize her after that. Shirley was still in a
daze of happiness. She did not think ahead. She had all sha
could do to register new occurrences and emotions, and realize
that her joy was not merely momentary. It had not occurred
to her to wonder where Graham was going out of town. It
was enough that he was here now.
When they reached the station Graham took two large
packages out of the car, and gave some directions to the
*98 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" Sorry we couldn't have gone down in the car again/' he
said as they walked into the station, " but it needs some re-
pairs and I don't want to take as long a run as that until it
has been thoroughly overhauled."
Then he was going down too ! He had declined Harriet
Hale's invitation to go back to the cottage with her ! Shirley's
breath came in little happy gasps as she walked beside her
companion down the platform to the train.
She found herself presently being seated in a big green
velvet chair in the parlor car while the porter stowed away
the two big packages in the rack overhead.
THERE was only one other passenger in the car, an old
man nodding behind a newspaper, with his chair facing in the
other direction. Graham took a swift survey of him and
turned happily back with a smile to Shirley :
"At last I have you to myself ! " he said with a sigh of
satisfaction that maab Shirley's cheeks bloom out rosily again.
He whirled her chair and his quite away from the vision
of the old man, so that they were at the nearest possible angle
to each other, and facing the windows. Then he sat down and
leaned toward her.
"Shirley," he said in a tone of proprietorship that was
tender and beautiful, " I've waited just as long as I'm going
to wait to tell you something. I know it's lunch time, and
I'm going to take you into the dining-car pretty soon and get
you some lunch, but I must have a little chance to talk with
you first, please."
Shirley's eyes gave glad permission and he hurried on.
" Shirley, I love you. I guess you've been seeing that
for some time. I knew I ought to hide it till you knew me
better, but I simply couldn't do it. I never saw a girl like
you, and I knew the minute I looked at you that you were
of finer clay than other girls, anyway. I knew that if I
couldn't win you and marry you I would never love anybody
else. But yesterday when I heard you were in peril away off
down in Washington and I away up here helpless to save
you, a^d not even having the right to organize a search for
you, I nearly went wild! All the way down on the train I
800 THE ENCHANTED BARN
kept shutting my eyes and trying to pray the way yon told
your Sunday School boys how to pray. But all I could get
out was, 'Oh, God, I love her! Save her! I love her!'
Shirley, I know I'm not one-half worthy enough for you, but
I love you with all my heart and I want you for my wife.
Will you marry me, Shirley ? "
When she had recovered a little from her wonder and
astonishment, and realized that he had asked her to marry
him, and was waiting for his answer, sht lifted her wondering
eyes to his face, and tried to speak as her conscience and
reason bade her.
"But I'm not like the other girls you know/' she said
bravely. Then he broke in upon her fervently.
" No, you're not like any other girl I know in the whole
wide world. Thank God for that! You are one among a
thousand ! No, you're one among the whole earthf ul of women I
You're the only one I could ever love ! "
"But listen, please; you haven't thought. I'm not a
society girl. I don't belong in your circle. I couldn't grace
your position the way your wife ought to do. Eemember,
we're nobodies. We're poor ! We live in a barn! "
" What do you suppose I care about that ? " he answered
eagerly. " You may live in a barn all your days if you like,
and I'll love you just the same. I'll come and live in the
barn with you if you want me to. My position ! My circle !
What's that ? You'll grace my home and my life as no other
girl could do. You heart of my heart! You strong, sweet
spirit! The only question I'm going to ask of you is, Can
you love me? If you can, I know I can make you happy,
for I love you better than my life. Answer, please. Do you
THE ENCHANTED BARN 301
She lifted her eyes, and their spirits broke through their
glances. If the old man at the other end of the car was looking
they did not know it.
They came back to the cottage at the shore with a manner
so blissful and so unmistakable that even the children noticed.
Elizabeth whispered to Carol at table : " My brother likes your
sister a lot, doesn't he? I hope she likes him, too."
" I guess she does/' responded Carol philosophically. " She
oughtta. He's been awfully good to her, and to all of us."
"People don't like people just for that," said wise
Harley, out on the veranda after dinner, drew near to Carol
" Say, kid, I guess he has got a case on her dll right now.
Gee ! Wouldn't that be great ? Think of all those cars ! "
But Carol giggled.
" Good night ! Harley ! How could we ever have a wed-
ding in a barn ? And they're such particular people, too ! "
"Aw, gee ! " said Harley, disgusted. " You girls are always
thinking of things like that ! As if that mattered. You can
get married in a chicken-run if you really have a case like
that on each other! You make me tired!" and he f talked
away in offended male dignity.
Meantime the unconscious subjects of this discussion had
<*one to Mrs. Hollister to confess, and the sea was forgotten
by all three for that one evening at least, even though the
moon was wide and bright and gave a golden pathway across
the dark water. For a great burden had rolled from Mrs.
Hollister's shoulders when she found her beloved eldest daugh-
ter was really loved by this young man, and he was not just
amusing himself for a little while at her expense.
302 THE ENCHANTED BARN
The days that followed were like one blissful fleeting dream
to Shirley. She just could not get used to the fact that she
was engaged to such a prince among men ! It seemed as if
she were dreaming, and that presently she would wake up and
find herself in the office with a great pile of letters to write,
and the perplexing problem before her of where they were
going to live next winter. She had broached that subject
once to Graham shyly, saying that she must begin to look
around as soon as she got back to town, and he put her aside,
asking her to leave that question till they all went back, as he
had a plan he thought she might think well of, but he couldn't
tell her about it just yet. He also began to urge her to write
at once to Mr. Barnard and resign her position, but that she
would not hear of.
" No," she said decidedly. " We couldn't live without my
salary, and there are a lot of things to be thought out and
planned before I can be married. Besides, we need to get to
know each other and to grow into each other's lives a little
bit. You haven't any idea even now how far I am from
being fitted to be the wife of a man in your position. You
may be sorry yet. If you are ever going to find it out, I want
you to do it beforehand."
He looked adoringly into her eyes.
" I know perfectly now, dear heart ! " he said, " and I'm
not going to be satisfied to wait a long time for you to find
out that you don't really care for me after all. If you've got
to find that out, I believe I'd rather it would be after I have
you close and fast and you'll have to like me anyway."
And then the wonder and thrill of it all would roll over
her again and she would look into his eyes and be satisfied.
Still she continued quite decided that nothing could be
THE ENCHANTED BARN SOS
done about prolonging her vacation, for she meant to go back
to Barnard and Clegg's on the day set.
" You know I'm the man of the house/' she said archly.
"I can't quite see it at all myself how I'm ever going to
" But I thought I was going to be the man of the house,^
pleaded Sidney. "I'm sure I'm quite capable and eager to
look out for the interests of my wife's family."
"But you see I'm not the kind of a girl that has been
looking around for a man who will support my family."
" No, you surely are not ! " said the young man, laughing.
" If you had been, young lady, I expect you'd have been looking
yet &o far as I am concerned. It is because you are what you
are that I love you. Now that's all right about being inde-
pendent, but it's about time to fight this thing to a finish. I
don't see why we all have to be made miserable just because
there are a lot of unpleasant precedents and conventions and
crochets in the world. Why may I not have the pleasure of
helping to take care of your perfectly good family if I want
to ? It is one of the greatest pleasures to which I am looking
forward, to try and make them just as happy as I can, so that
you will be the happier. I've got plenty to do it with. God
has been very good to me in that way, and why should you try
to hinder me ? "
And then the discussion would end in a bewildering look
of worshipful admiration on Shirley's part and a joyous taking
possession of her and carrying her off on some ride or walk 01
other on the part of Graham.
He did not care just now that she was slow to make plans.
fie was enjoying each day, each hour, to the full. He wanted
to keep her from thinking about the future, and especially
304 THE ENCHANTED BARN
about the winter, till she got home, and so he humored her
and led her to other topics.
One night, as they sat on the dark veranda alone, Graham
said to George :
" If you were going to college, where would you want to
prepare ? "
He wondered what the boy would say, for the subject of
college had never been mentioned with relation to George.
He did not know whether the boy had ever thought of it.
But the answer came promptly in a ringing voice :
" Central High ! They've got the best football team IB
" Then you wouldn't want to go away to some preparatory
"No, sir!" was the decided answer. "I believe in the
public school every time ! When I was a little kid I can re
member my father taking me to walk and pointing out the
Central High School, and veiling me thp.t some day I would
go there to school. I used to always call that 'my school.'
I used to think I'd get there yet, some day, but I guess that's
out of the question."
" Well, George, if that's your choice you can get ready to
enter as soon as you go back to the city."
" What ? " George's feet came down from the veranda
railing with a thud, and he sat upright in the darkness and
stared wildly at his prospective brother-in-law. Then he
slowly relaxed and his young face grew grim and stern.
" No chance ! " he said laconically.
" Because I've got my mother and the children to sup-
port. I can't waste time going to school. I've got to be a
THE ENCHANTED BARN 305
Something sudden like a choke came in the young znan'i
throat, and a great love for the brave boy who was so cour-
ageous in his self-denial.
" George, you're not a man yet, and you'll shoulder the
burden twice as well when you're equipped with a college
education. I mean you shall have it. Do you suppose I'm
going to let my new brother slave away before his time?
No, sir; you're going to get ready to make the best man
that's in you. And as for your mother and the family, isn't
she going to be my mother, and aren't they to be my family ?
We'll just shoulder the job together, George, till you're older
and then we'll see."
" But I couldn't take charity from anybody."
" Not even from a brother ? "
" Not even from a brother."
"Well, suppose we put it in another way. Suppose you
borrow the money from me to keep things going, and when
you are ready to pay it back we'll talk about it then. Or,
better still, suppose you agree to pass it on to some other
brother when you are able."
They talked a long time in the dark, and Graham had
quite a hard time breaking down the boy's reserve and inde-
pendence, and getting a real brotherly confidence. But at last
George yielded, saw the common sense and right of the thing,
and laid an awkward hand in the man's, growling out:
" You're a pippin and no mistake, Mr. Graham. I can't
ever thank you enough ! I never thought anything like this
would happen to me ! "
"Don't try thanks, George. We're brothers now, you
know. Just you do your best at school, and it's all I ask.
Shirley and I are going to be wonderfully proud of you. But
306 THE ENCHANTED BARN
please don't call me Mr. Graham any more. Sid, or Sidney,
or anything you like, but no more mistering."
He filing a brotherly arm across the boy's shoulders and
together they went into the house.
Meantime the beautiful days went by in one long, golden
dream of wonder. The children were having the time of their
livey, and Elizabeth was never so happy. Shirley sat on the
wide verandas and read the wealth of books and magazines
which the house contained, or roamed the beach with the
children and Star, or played in the waves with Doris, and
wondered if it were really Shirley Hollister who was iiaving
all this good time.
THE morning they all started back to the city was a
memorable one. Graham had insisted that Shirley ask for a
holiday until Tuesday morning so that she might go up with
them in the car, and have the whole day to be at home and
help her mother get settled. She had consented, and found
to her surprise that Mr. Barnard was most kind about it. He
had even added that he intended to raise her salary, and she
might consider that hereafter she was to have ten dollars
more per month for her services, which they valued very
George had sent his resignation to the store and was not
to go back at all. Graham had arranged that, for school
began the day after his return and he would need to be free
Elizabeth, to her great delight, was to go with the Hoi-
listers and remain a few days until her parents returned.
Mrs. Graham had written from the West making a proposi-
tion to Mrs. Hollister that Carol be allowed to go to school
with Elizabeth the next winter, because Mrs. Graham felt
it would be so good for Elizabeth to ha\e a friend like that
Mrs. Hollister, however, answered that she felt it better for
her little girl to remain with her mother a little longer; and
that she did not feel it would be a good thing for her child,
who would be likely to have a simple life before her with very
few luxuries, to go to a fashionable finishing-school where the
standards must all necessarily be so different from those of
her own station in life, and, kind as the offer had been, she
must decline it. She did not say that Carol had fairly bristled
308 THE ENCHANTED BARN
at the idea of leaving her beloved high school now when she
was a senior and only one year before her graduation. That
bit of horror and hysterics on Carol's part had been carefully
suppressed within the four walls of her mother's room; but
Elizabeth, deeply disappointed, had wept her heart out over
the matter, and finally been comforted by the promise that
Mrs. Hollister would write and ask Mrs. Graham to allow
Elizabeth to go to school with Carol the coming winter. That
proposition was now on its way West, together with an an-
nouncement of Sidney's engagement to Shirley. Sidney was
confidently expecting congratulatory telegrams that morning
when he reached the city. He had written his father in detail
all about their plans for returning, and how the work at the
old barn was progressing, and Mr. Graham, Senior, was toa
good a manager not to plan to greet the occasion properly.
Therefore Graham stopped at his office for a few minutes
before taking the family out to Glenside, and, sure enough,
came down with his hands full of letters and telegrams, and
one long white envelope which he put carefully in his breast
pocket. They had a great time reading the telegrams and
The way out to Glenside seemed very short now, watching
as they did for each landmark. The children were as eager to
get back as they had been to leave, and Star snuggled in
between Harley's feet, held his head high, and smiled benev-
olently on everybody, as if he knew he was going home and
was glad. They began to wonder about the chickens, and if
the garden was all dried up, and whether the dove,* were all
right. There was an undertone of sadness and suppressed
excitement, for it was in the minds of all the Hollisters that
the time in the old barn must of necessity be growing brief.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 309
The fall would soon be upon them, and a need for warmth.
They must go hunting for a house at once. And yet they all
wanted this one day of delight before they faced that question.
At last they reached the final curve and could see the tall
old tree in the distance, and the clump of willows knee-deep
in the brook. By common consent they all grew silent, watch-
ing for the first glimpse of the dear old barn.
Then they came around the curve, and there it was ! But
tfhat was the matter?
Nobody spoke. It seemed as if they could not get their
Shirley rubbed her eyes, and looked again. Mrs. Hollister
gave a startled look from her daughter to Graham and back
to the barn again. Elizabeth and Carol were utterly silent,
grasping each other's hands in violent ecstasy. The boys
murmured inarticulately, of which the only audible words
were : " Good night ! Some class ! " Doris looked for a long
jecond, puckered her lips as if she were going to cry, and
inquired pitifully: "I yant my dear barn house home! I
jant to doh home ! " and Star uttered a sharp, bewildered bark
and bounded from the car as if this were something he ought
to attend to.
But before anybody could say anything more, Graham
brought out the long white envelope and handed it to Shirley,
" Before you get out and go in I just want to say a word, 31
he began. " Father and I both want Shirley to have the old
barn for her very own, to do with as she pleases. This en-
velope contains the deed for the property made out in her
name. We have tried to put it in thorough repair before
handing it over to her, and if there is anything more she can
think of that it needs we'll do that ,',oo. And now, welcome
home to the old barn! Mother, may I help you out?"
310 THE ENCHANTED BARN
" But there isn't any barn any more," burst forth the
irrepressible Elizabeth. " The barn's gone ! It's just a house ! "
And, sure enough, there stood a stately stone mansion on a
wide green terrace, where shrubs and small trees were grouped
fittingly about, erasing all signs of the old pasture-land ; and
the old grassy incline to the door now rolled away in velvety
lawn on either side of a smooth cement walk bordered with
vivid scarlet geraniums. Trailing vines and autumn flowers
were blossoming in jars on the wide stone railing. The old
barn door had been replaced by glass which gave a glimpse of
strange new rooms beyond, and the roof had broken forth in
charming colonial dormer windows like a new French hat on
a head that had worn the same old poke bonnet for years. No
wonder Doris didn't recognize the dear old barn. It did seem
as though a wizard had worked magic upon it. How was one
to know that only a brief half-hour before the old gardener
from the Graham estate set the last geranium in the row
along the walk, and trailed the last vine over the stone wall ;
or that even now the corps of men who had been hastily laying
and patting the turf in place over the terrace were in hiding
down in the basement, with their wheelbarrows and picks and
spades, having beat a hasty retreat at the sound of the car
coming, and were only waiting till they could get away unob-
served? For orders were orders, and the orders were that
the work was to be done and every man out of sight by the
time they arrived. A bonus to every man if the orders were
obeyed. That is what money and influence can do in a month !
In due time they got themselves out of that car in a sort
of bewildered daze and walked up the new cement path,
feeling strangely like intruders as they met the bright stare
of the geraniums.
THE ENCHANTED BARN 311
They walked the length of the new piazza in delight. They
exclaimed and started and smiled and almost wept in one
another's arms. Graham stood and watched Shirley's happy
face and was satisfied.
The first thing Doris did when she got inside the lovely
glass door was to start to run for her own little willow chair
and her own little old rag doll that had been left behind, and
down she went on the slippery floor. And there, behold, the
old barn floors too had disappeared under a coating of simple
matched hardwood flooring, oiled and polished smoothly, and
Doris was not expecting it.
She got up quickly, half ashamed, and looked around
" I vas skating ! " she declared with a ringing laugh. " I
skated yite down on mine nose/'
Then she hurried more cautiously to the haven of her
own chair, and with her old doll hugged to her breast she
reiterated over and over as if to reassure herself : " Mine I
Doris! Mine! Doris !"
Words would fail to describe all they said about the won-
derful rooms, the walla all shining in a soft rough-finish
plaster, tinted creamy on the upper half and gray below, and
finished in dark chestnut trimmings; of the beautiful stair-
case and the wide bay window opening from the first landing
like a little half-way room, with seats to rest upon. It was
standing in this bay window that Graham first called Mrs.
Hoilister's attention to something strange and new outside/
behind the house. It was a long, low glass building with
green things gleaming through its shining roof.
" There, mother," he said, coming up softly behind her.
" There is your plaything. You said you had always wanted
312 THE ENCHANTED BARN
a hot-house, so we made you one. It is heated from a coil in
the furnace, and you can try all the experiments with flowers
you want to. We put in a few things to start with, and you
can get more at your leisure."
Mrs. Hollister gave one look, and then turned and put
her arms around the tall young man, reaching up on her tip-
toes to do so, brought his handsome face down to hers, and
" My dear son ! " she said. That was all, but he knew
that she had accepted him and given him a loving place with
her own children in her heart.
There were shoutings and runnings up stairs and down by
first one and then another. The bathrooms were discovered
one by one, and then they had to all rush down into the base-
ment by the new stairs to see the new laundry and the new
furnace, and the entrance to the hot-house ; and the hot-house
itself, with its wealth of bloom transplanted from the Graham
They almost forgot the chickens and the doves, and the
garden was a past Eden not to be remembered till long hours
The sunset was dying away in the sky, and the stars were
large and few and piercing in the twilight night when Shirley
and Sidney came walking up the terrace arm in arm, and
found Doris sitting in the doorway cuddling her old rag doll
and a new little gray kitten the farmer next door had brought
her, and singing an evening song to herself.
Shirley and Sidney turned and looked off at the sky where
a rosy stain was blending softly into the gray of evening.
"Do you remember the first night we stood here to-
gether?" Sidney said in a low tone, as he drew her fingers
THE ENCHANTED BARN 313
within his own. "I loved you then, Shirley, that first
And then Doris's little shrill voice chimed above their
" Oh, mine nice dear home ! Mine kitty an' mine dolly !
and mine piazza ! and mine bafwoom wif a place to swim
boats! an' mine f'owers an' pitty house! No more barn!
Barn all dawn! Never turn bat any mohl Oh, mine nice,
pitty dear home ! "
THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ
This book is due on the last DATE stamped below.
JAN 24 19/3
JAN 7 mm
NOV 21 RECTO
OCT 2 6 1983 REC'D
TOREO AT NRLF